40 Years: 76-77

Clash …

09 Oct 1976. Tonight, the Clash in Leighton Buzzard at the Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre, which – in the words of journalist Kris Needs – “was one of those council hangars better suited to bingo and comedians.” The Clash were actually the opening band for a local R&B outfit, The Rockets.

The Clash were photographed here by Sounds journalist, Jonh Ingham who remembers:

“This was their fifth gig. From memory the stage had carpet on it, which ran up the wall and both Mick [Jones] and Joe [Strummer] took runs up it while playing [ … ] They finished their set in 30 minutes because all the songs were about 2 minutes long; the promoter went mental because they were hired for an hour set. Joe came running over to me asking what they should do … as if being a seasoned music writer meant I had the answers! I told him to play the set again and throw in some oldies if they knew any. They played “White Riot” and 3 or 4 more and the promoter seemed placated.” [more here …]

ZigZag writer Kris Needs recollects that when he arrived at the venue, it was “half full of local hippies, rock fans and lager meatheads, who draped themselves over the comfy chairs. There couldn’t have been more than ten punters of a punky disposition in the whole joint. First place we hit was the bar – and immediately encountered were the Clash. There were no dressing rooms to speak of so they were just hanging about waiting until the time came to go on.

For some reason, I found myself perched next to Mick [Jones] – the bloke I’d seen knocking about in the Portobello Road and Camden areas. He knew he’d seen me before too. It all came out when we did that inevitable first meeting gushing about music. The Stones, the Dolls, Iggy and the Stooges…oh, and Mott The Hoople.

‘That’s it!’, we both said at the same time. The Rainbow Theatre in ‘72, Elephant And Castle College in ‘73, Croydon … the dates kept coming. When I was running Mott’s fan club, I often went backstage, and that’s where I first met Mick.”


By John Scanlan

John Scanlan is the Series Editor of Reverb with Reaktion Books.