Wild Hare Club Blog

When Richard Met Debbie

Everybody knows the story of my meeting with Patti Smith but she’s not the only one of the artists of the New York underground scene of the late 1970s who I’ve met. Yes, of the CBGB centred scene-makers, I’ve also talked to John Cale and Richard Hell, exchanged grunts with Tom Verlaine and hung with Lenny Kaye. OK I confess to having engineered these encounters, mainly by blagging my way backstage, but my coming face-to-face with the Queen of NYC cool, Debbie Harry, that was totally unexpected.

Back in the early1990s like many other over-educated and underemployed graduates brought up on the NME, I gravitated - i.e. sank - to finding a job in Record and Tape, aka Music and Video. This chain of grimy second-hand shops started in Notting Hill Gate and ended up having many branches across London, later diversifying to selling ‘vintage’ clothes and other stuff.  Which name the chain’s staff and customers refer to it as is a clear indication of their age, though both names are dated now. The shops were squalid places and not unlike the shop described by Nick Hornby in High Fidelity, staffed by people who were generally misanthropic and who

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40 Years of Punk Rock Attitude

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of punk rock? The idea is of course ludicrous - I mean, punk as heritage? How ironic is that? But hey, I’m going to do it anyway by throwing a punky reggae party with my friends and fellow scene-makers from The Underground Revolution on 9th September in Hereford to which you are all invited and here’s why.

1976 was a year zero of some kind - the nascent punk rock scene sparked off a cultural upheaval in this country at the fag end of the 1970s which smashed the rose-coloured Lennon lenses of the prevailing hippy worldview and inspired a whole generation of creatives with its incandescent energy. It wasn’t just musicians of course who got fired up by the scene, but future designers, writers and activists too. Our culture is still feeding off that energy even now. Take Dame Vivienne Westwood for example - hailed as a great British eccentric, icon and export, she is now held close to the bosom of the establishment and was touted as a symbol of Cool Britannia’s world-beating creativity. She wasn’t always thought of so fondly by the powers that be. It’s peculiar really, how the iconoclasts

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