Friday, 30 June 2017

The Skids - Part 2: "Scared To Dance 1979-1980" Photos by Paul Slattery & "1977 Scottish Punk Revolution" Exhibition

My Retro Man Blog colleague the esteemed Rock Photographer Paul Slattery has had an excellent new photo-book published by Hanging Around entitled "Scared To Dance: The Skids 1979/80" and it's been on sale on merch tables at gigs during The Skids amazingly well received 40th anniversary tour. It's a limited edition 36 page A5 paperback photo-zine and features rare and previously unseen photographs of The Skids taken in 1979 and 1980 at various early London concerts at The Marquee, The Nashville and The Red Cow and locations such as North Queensferry and Dunfermline in Scotland and of Richard Jobson in Berlin. Hanging Around Books is an independent book publisher specialising in music-related photo-books. Based in Dunbar, Scotland, the books are A5 sized paperbacks that carry on the legacy of "Hanging Around" - a punk fanzine that Ronnie Gurr founded in 1977. The first titles feature Simple Minds, U2, The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers. Forthcoming titles will be announced through the web-site and via social media. You can order books and prints and check out more details at the Hanging Around official web-site here.

The Skids North Queensferry 1979 photographed by Paul Slattery
The Skids Southampton 1865 Club June 2017 ©Paul Slattery/Hanging Around Books
An arts hub in Dunfermline, Fire Station Creative (FSC), was the chosen venue for an exhibition of historic photographs from the punk music scene 40 years ago. The show, titled ‘Scared to Dance: The Skids and the Scottish Punk Rock Revolution 1977’ is being curated by Skids frontman, Richard Jobson and music business consultant Ronald Gurr who also used to freelance for Record Mirror and the NME. Sponsored by Fife Council, the exhibition ends on Sunday July 2nd and entry is free to the public. Original artworks, signed, photographic prints and highly collectable books will be on sale at Fire Station Creative, a registered charity. The band also played an intimate sold-out acoustic show at the Gallery earlier this week and donated all profits to the FSC.

Ronnie Gurr explains more about the exhibition and his publishing company: “In 1977 I started a fanzine in Edinburgh called “Hanging Around” and, as a fan, quickly became immersed in the developing Punk scene. Advances in technology had seen fanzines flourish alongside the new music and the recent emergence of high street photocopying shops had allowed me – along with a host of others – to develop as both proto-journalists and self-publishers. In what seemed like an avalanche of visceral and formative live events, Edinburgh hosted seminal gigs by The Saints, Generation X, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, The Clash and many others. Seeing The Skids was believing. In November 1977, they supported Buzzcocks at Edinburgh’s Clouds. Here, for the first time, was a young band that could not only match the performance of the big-name punk bands from down south but one which was actually more vital than many of them. They were our own and special. The Skids gave us the feeling that not only could Scotland compete in this new musical field but that we could be at the forefront of it.

Richard Jobson recently introduced me to this gallery, the Fire Station Creative in Dunfermline and the idea to have an exhibition developed in tandem with the development of Hanging Around Books, my publishing enterprise that specialises in rare and previously unseen music-related photography books. My shots were all taken during 1977 as I went about my fanzine business. Some were used in editions of "Hanging Around” but subsequently lay undiscovered in a box in my garage for nearly 40 years. Unlike Virginia Turbett, Steve Emberton and Paul Slattery, whose prints are included in the Exhibition, I make no claim to be a photographer but the shots taken on my Kodak Instamatic 77x, with cube flashbulbs, do seem to capture, in a rough, ready and honest way, something of the excitement and DIY ethos of that scene”.

Richard Jobson recalls other photographers who have contributed to the exhibition: “Virginia Turbett and Paul Slattery were official photographers working for newspapers such as Sounds and NME and they were a massive step up in taking images of the band. They were both brilliant at getting you to do what they wanted. These old photographs capture the period as well as our attitude and innocence. They are amazing reflections of the time. I’ve never been that interested in looking backwards but this anniversary was worth having another look and listen. I hope people get an understanding of what it was like at the time from the various elements we have put together. The Skids were at the forefront of the Punk movement in Scotland but are never given any credit for the work we did together. This exhibition is an opportunity to show how Punk came to Scotland through bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols and how we were never far away as either a support act or eventually a headline band in our own right. I joined the band when I was 16.

The Skids Photographed by Paul Slattery ©Paul Slattery/Hanging Around Books
We went through a lot together. I am a big supporter of the Fire Station Creative and felt it was the right place to set the scene of Punk in Scotland from 1977, not only in Glasgow and Edinburgh but also in Dunfermline.” The timing for this exhibition is perfect as The Skids reformed to create a new album, “Burning Cities” and embarked upon a 40th anniversary tour. About these events, Richard Jobson said: “It’s been a massive success. Old and new fans have responded to the energy of the old material and the sharpness of the new songs. It started out as a simple idea as a one-off gig which has grown into a full blown UK and Irish tour. The songs feel relevant and retain their edge.”

Richard Jobson photographed in Southampton by Paul Slattery
You can read my feature on the recent Skids gig at The Roundhouse in London and see some of Paul's excellent photos of the band at their Southampton show at this link. Exhibition photos by Virginia Turbett and Ian Moir. Skids photos copyright Paul Slattery/Hanging Around Books.

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