1. ITV Report

Punk memories: Looking back at legendary venues in our region

  • Watch a second video report by ITV News Anglia's Matthew Hudson looking at the punk movement.
  • Read Matthew Hudson's thoughts on the music venues used during the punk movement:

Cambridge Corn Exchange was the first music venue I ever attended. A callow youth of 14/15 in 1978 I had the advantages of a big brother and a mother who was prepared to let me go along with him.

And so I got to see some of the classic punk acts of the time. The Ramones, The Adverts, The Stranglers all played there. But best of all for me was Magazine, fronted by former Buzzcock Howard Devoto, whose album Real Life I was playing pretty much non-stop. Support on the night came from an unknown Scottish band called Simple Minds. They were pretty good. I wonder what ever happened to them.

Punk venues Credit: ITV News Anglia

Inside in those days the Corn Exchange seemed cavernous, a mass of sweating, pogoing humanity. But there was a railing I would stand on to see out over the crowd. I tried not to make eye contact with any of the scary looking grown up punks in case they attacked me like the papers said punks were supposed to. It was only later I realised that a skinny little kid like me was so far down the food chain they wouldn't even have noticed me.

I remember Clare Grogan, now an actress but then fronting Altered Images, bursting into tears because the shoving at the front got so intense it actually pushed the stage back and cut the power.

All in all it sparked a love of live music which has stayed with me all my life and I still keep an eye out to see when bands I love are touring.

These days though there's no need to worry about eye contact. The sense of camaraderie at punk shows today is one of the attractions.

West Runton was the place to be Credit: ITV News Anglia

I never went to West Runton pavilion but researching these features has really made me wish I had.

Andrew Gibson's wonderful photographs, largely unseen until now, show a tremendous sense of community with punks from all over Norfolk and beyond gathering to hear the music they loved.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing how old boys from the village would be seen in the local pub chatting happily to Souixsie from the Banshees or how an old lady would be out first thing in the morning prodding the prone bodies of revellers to make sure they were still alive.

And the roll call of bands that played there is astonishing. There must be London venues from the time that didn't get half the acts Runton did.

One flyer I photographed shows that in a week you could have taken in Luton's UK Decay, The Addicts from Ipswich, The Stranglers and the UK Subs and I know there were many weeks like that.

The Dead Kennedys and the Runaways, all the way from California, both graced the stage while touring the UK.

The Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, Joy Division, the Ruts the list of those who played is available online and is well worth a look.

As Malcolm Bradwell, who grew up in the village as a punk mad kid told me: "They were the bands I loved and then they'd come and play in the village where I lived. I mean, how good is that?"

You could make a film about it. Maybe someone should.

Matt's Punk Playlist (you'll need a Spotify account to listen)

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