But At Least We’ll Know That It’s True / That I’m Almost Sixteen Again…

buzzcocks tickets

If you’d pulled me aside thir­ty years back and told me that this year I’d be watch­ing the The Buz­zcocks in Bangkok, like­ly I’d be inclined to ver­bal­ly slap you a bit to bring some sense back into the con­ver­sa­tion. Of course I would­n’t have as I’m not a vio­lent per­son by nature (the last per­son I hit was Nicky Hager in the 4th Form, and I’ve felt guilt since).

But tonight there I was, in the rather agree­able but still fair­ly rock­n’roll sur­round­ings of Club Cul­ture near Vic­to­ry Mon­u­ment (which was­n’t actu­al­ly a vic­to­ry at all) groov­ing along to The Buz­zcocks. The fuck­ing Buz­zcocks.…

We used to laugh at the 60s acts in the 1980s tour­ing their hand­ful of hits around the work­ing­man’s clubs of the UK and peri­od­i­cal­ly mak­ing it to NZ. The likes of The Searchers and The Hol­lies. And I’m still one to sneer at the poor old Human League and ABC, or for that mat­ter most acts from the ’77 batch doing the traps three decades on. The only Class of ’77 acts I’d cross the road to see would be Paul Weller or Elvis Costel­lo.

And The Buz­zcocks.

I mean, they had the tunes, and if the 2009 reis­sues of the first three albums gave us any­thing, it was that those are like­ly the best pop records of their gen­er­a­tion, bar none. Tell me a pop anthem from the last half of that decade that tops Ever Fall­en In Love or Promis­es. And they came, they flared, and they burnt out in a fair­ly gra­cious way. And, of course, Pete Shel­ley gave us Homosapi­en which, in it’s 12″ dub, was both a dance­floor mon­ster and, for­giv­ably, the pro­to­type for every­thing elec­tro­clash, twen­ty plus years on. Tune indeed (and the album is no slouch). girls outside

It was a mixed crowd of 1000 or so, about 50% UK expats, 30% Thai and the rest mixed. I loved the anonymi­ty of it all, that being some­thing I’ve enjoyed in Bali too. The nature of my his­to­ry means that it’s hard to do these sorts of gigs in Auck­land with­out some, admit­ted­ly often pleas­ant, clos­ing in.

We had drinks down­stairs in the open air bar before we went it. It was as much a show as the band was lat­er one. Fad­ed punks thir­ty years on are an inter­est­ing bunch.

And as Brigid said, being sur­round­ed by the Eng­lish on hol­i­day does won­ders for one’s phys­i­cal self-esteem.

There was a Thai Elvis imper­son­ator play­ing to half a dozen peo­ple in the restau­rant. We gave him a 20B tip and went in.

The sup­port act, I have no idea what they were called, looked like Har­ry Pot­ter and band but were actu­al­ly real­ly bloody good in a tight pop punk way. They looked like they had the legs to trav­el, and I mused that if they were any­where in the West­ern world they’d like­ly be doing MTV & com­mer­cial­ly rather well. They had the looks and the tunes.

A brief break, with some quite taste­ful­ly informed between band tunes (smat­ter­ings of 60’s punk, Big Star etc, plus a few 70’s and ear­ly ’80s tunes – there is some­thing quite spe­cial hear­ing 500 increas­ing­ly drunk­en Eng­lish­men, as they most­ly seemed to be by that stage, singing Love Will Tear Us Apart as if they were straight off the bench­es at Old Traf­ford) and the arrival of the Thai punks and the con­fused blonde Swedish hair­dressers, who, like about 30% of the crowd, would not have been born much before the band’s 1989 reunion. Some of the younger crew had their spiff­ing brand new

Some of the younger crew had their spiff­ing brand new Sin­gles Going Steady or Sex Pis­tols shirts on (unlike a few of the more ancient folks who, despite the fact they’d dou­bled in size, had inad­vis­ably decid­ed to ignore any remain­ing style instincts left after all those Spe­cial Brews had done their work, and squeeze into that Adverts shirt one last time. Cheers for that …)

Then came the head­lin­ers. No fuss, no great announce­ment, they just wan­dered on stage, tuned up a bit, like the band at the local pub, and then blat­ted into Bore­dom which segued effort­less­ly, hard­ly sur­pris­ing after all these years I guess, into the mighty Fast Cars.elvis

I last saw the band in, I think, about 1990, and my first impres­sion this time was that Shel­ley looked like a hap­py off-duty bus dri­ver (he seems to have shrunk ver­ti­cal­ly and grown hor­i­zon­tal­ly – haven’t we all) and Steve Dig­gle, in spot­ted shirt, had some­thing of the Bruce Forsythe about him. Who would’ve thought that in 1979?

Brigid and I won­dered too, what the very fat guys with cheap striped polo shirts tucked into their walk shorts would’ve looked like in 1979?

But, y’know, it was The Buz­zcocks – the fuck­ing Buz­zcocks, one more time. In Bangkok!

And then the first Eng­lish­man crashed the stage and knocked over Pete & his amps and stag­gered up to d0 a vic­to­ri­ous meat­head arms-in-the-air yeah, before being polite­ly – this being Thai­land where even the punks say sor­ry – tossed off the stage by the bounc­ers. He deserved some­thing firmer as the rest of the band hob­bled vocals-less through the last half of Auton­o­my, and Shel­ley had to bor­row an amp and swap gui­tars.

And the scouse wanker who had the poor Thai girl by the throat out­side the toi­lets (peo­ple were inter­ven­ing rather quick­ly, thank god) need­ed, and like­ly was, giv­en the anger of the approach­ing staff, a swift expla­na­tion as to why his behav­ior was utter­ly unac­cept­able, which if he could­n’t under­stand, would have led to some­thing stern­er from the two cops stand­ing out­side.

Some peo­ple should not trav­el, or for that mat­ter, leave their shit­ty coun­cil flat.

But, it rolled into What Do I Get and onwards, then Steve Dig­gle’s moment, a longish Har­mo­ny In My Head, where he had the same Man‑U fans singing the cho­rus en mass. It was well cool. I smiled and sang a lot.

Thai punks

We wan­dered out after the encore of Oh Shit, Ever Fall­en in Love (dur­ing which the Swedish girls seemed to final­ly find a song to know – it must be the Shrek effect) and Orgasm Addict, to get a taxi before the mass­es swamped them.

So, yes, it was nos­tal­gia (which, sad­ly they did­n’t play – and no Love Bat­tery … no Love Bat­tery!), and it was a bunch of old folks most­ly singing along with the tunes one more time.

But It was The Buz­zcocks – the fuck­ing Buz­zcocks.


Those promis­es.. ohh­hh…  are made for us… ohhh …



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Simon Ben­dall
November 30, 2009 at 3:56 am

They did Love Bat­tery here in Welling­ton, sor­ry! In fact they did the whole ‘Anoth­er Music…’ album in order, then most of Love Bites, and a few oth­er sin­gles thrown in for good mea­sure.

I am gen­er­al­ly some­what cyn­i­cal about reunion tours etc, but as you said — it’s the fuckin’ Buz­zcocks, so I could­n’t not go. It was bloody bril­liant!

Mind The Gap
December 2, 2009 at 9:09 am

The sup­port Act who look like Har­ry Pot­ters called ” Abuse the Youth“
check them out at http://www.myspace.com/abusetheyouth or http://www.abusetheyouth.com

December 4, 2009 at 11:50 am

Cheers MTG. They real­ly were very good. Keep me in the loop for any future gigs you guys do.

Chad Tay­lor
December 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Simon, I did­n’t cross the road to see Paul Weller but I did spot him from the 134 just a cou­ple of weeks back. He was pick­ing up his gf out­side Habi­tat on Tot­ten­ham Court Road. He was dri­ving a black mini and she was wait­ing out­side with a flat pack shelf. He still looks like Karl Maugh­an, only red­der.

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