Republished from last year because I thought the story was really interesting.
In 1977 the Huddersfield fire fighters were in the midst of a bitter strike and families had been without an income for some time. Christmas was looking bleak.
But the Sex Pistols stepped in and played a legendary benefit gig for the families. It was organised surreptitiously because they were afraid that the authorities would shut it down. At the time they were hated by the authorities and they were on an MI5 black list. They had been banned by many local authorities from using civic facilities. They laid on presents and cake for everyone and from then on there were a bunch of very young but passionate Sex Pistols fans based in Huddersfield.
As described by a young attendee Jeez Scott:
Johnny Rotten came out in a straw hat and they had a cake with Sex Pistols written on it, the size of a car bonnet. He started cutting it up but it soon degenerated into a food fight. He was covered head to foot. It was fantastic. I took a photo of Steve Jones, who did a rock’n’roll-type pose. I took one of Sid and he asked, “Do you want to put Nancy [Spungen] in as well?”
Eventually the Pistols came onstage. I think they only played about six songs. I remember they did “Bodies,” but omitted the swear words because of the children. Steve Jones’s guitar sounded very raw and exciting. During “Holidays in the Sun,” Rotten held out the mic and people were shouting out their names, but because I was probably the only punk there I tried to shout the lyrics: “Cheap dialogue/ Cheap essential scenery.”
The gig itself was great. Sid had his leather jacket open and was hammering the bass. They were really on form and I was a bit overcome, really. I’d taken my album along but I was so excited talking to the Pistols, I forgot to get it signed. Sid was the easiest to talk to because he was like one of us, like a kid. I asked him what he was doing next and he said they were going to America. I’d like to think I said, “Don’t go, it’ll all go pear-shaped,” but I didn’t. Within a few weeks the band had split, Sid had been remanded for murdering Nancy and then he died. I wore a black tie with a Sex Pistols badge on it for a year in mourning.
Here is one of the videos about the occasion. Enjoy …