Rob and I made contact through Instagram after I saw him post some great gig photos he had taken. Rob is local to where I used to run the Buzz Club, in Aldershot and remembered seeing my band there in the mid ’80s. He has sent me a wonderful collection of pictures, plus his memories of those days.
I’ll post them by year, but first, an introduction to our man behind the lens.
‘I grew up in Fleet and made the big move to Church Crookham where I live now.
I did an apprenticeship at the National Gas Turbine Establishment in Farnborough completing it in 1981 and continuing to work there until Feb 1984 . We usually drove to gigs, most of us had a beaten up old car which could get us to gigs within a 50-100 mile radius of Fleet. We were all fairly handy at fixing cars. We tended to use the train to get to the London venues.
I found out about bands and gigs in various ways. Either by word of mouth from friends or from press i.e. Sounds or Melody Maker or the John Peel Show. I went to gigs nearly always with friends/girlfriends. I did go to the Jo Boxers gig on my own. I had seen a feature on them on one of the TV music programs and thought they seemed worth going to see. No one else wanted to see them so I saw they were playing in Croydon and drove there using an A to Z map of London. Felt it a bit of a twit at the gig just standing around on my own and it was pub venue.
I also went to see The Clash and the Cramps at the Lyceum (two different gigs) on my own. Got the train from Fleet to Waterloo and then walked to the Lyceum then got the train back. That was easier as I knew the bands, their repertoire so just mingled in with the crowd.
My father was into photography and used our kitchen as a makeshift dark room to process and print B&W photographs. When I thought it would be good to take photos of bands he recommended I get an Olympus Trip 35 which I used for the first 18 months or so (from 1980). Sadly I didn’t have it at the early gigs I went to (Ian Dury, The Lurkers , The Jam, etc.) I then got more into photography and got an Olympus OM10. I still have both but don’t use them due to laziness as sadly phones have just taken over. I don’t remember ever having a problem with taking photos.
I was into Punk in the first instance but dressed more of what you might called New Wave i.e. buying old suits or jackets from local 2nd hand shops. Then when the Mod, Skinhead/Ska, Rockabilly , Futuristic things came along we followed those (fashion & music) but all along still liked all Alternative/Indie/Punk music at the same time and still carried on seeing any like band at the time.
The great thing about those times was the liking it gave us for many different types of music, Reggae, Ska, Electronic, The Velvet Underground/Lou Reed, The Stooges etc, etc. I’ve never stopped liking all that music.
I very much still like to go to the odd gig but it tends to be bands from the past, I’ve seen’ From The Jam’ a few times, and Lloyd Cole. I did see The UK Subs at the West End Centre a few years ago. My job consumes a lot of my time and stops me going to see much. Always interested to hear new bands though.
Around 84/85 I lost contact with some of the friends I went to gigs with, quite a few friends had got married etc and I’d just bought a flat and met my future wife so going to gigs sort of took a back seat.
My Fleet mates (the one in the middle and on the far right) were the ones who got me into Punk in the first place. I still see the one 3rd from right regularly.
Steve (an old mate from school )and Bill were the ones I was with when I think it was your band we saw in Aldershot that time. I’m sure it was Bill to suggested we go, he sadly passed away 5 or 6 years ago from a heart attack.
Brooke and Kaz were from a group of friends from Farnborough Tech (I used to go there on day release). I went to see Japan with them, I completely lost contact with them around late 1982 and tcan’t remember their surnames.’
Thanks very much Rob. There are a few select photos I’ll share here before starting with 1980 in the next chapter.
Right, Chapter two – 1980 – coming soon!