Sunday, 9 December 2018

Peter Buzzcock Shelley

This week we unexpectedly lost Pete Shelley and there are been a lot of respectfully posting and a lot of suddenly crawling out the woodwork tributes and love like when anyone passes on.

It's possible that the Buzzcocks kicked off the Manchester punk scene, I remember Shelley with his half a Woolworths guitar proving that anyone could do it. They took this further with the self produced and distributed "Spiral Scratch" EP.  The was the true spirit of Independence and it sickens me when I hear of some new "Indie" band have signed to a label to produce their first record. The thing is now, with digital distribution, it is far easier to self produce and publish than it was in the mid seventies. There was no internet or home computers then.

Shelley was there from the start and I didn't realise that their original drummer was Mick Singleton (no relation).  Their original single came out on their own "New Hormones" print but they signed to United Artists for their first album, and the single "Orgasm Addict" which the BBC refused to play at the time.

Shelley came up with one of the greatest riffs ever which appeared in the Buzzcock's "Lipstick" but was used by Howard Devoto for Magazine's debut single "Shot By Both Sides".

They were responsible for inviting the Sex Pistols to play the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, a gig that everyone was at, apparently. I think I saw both bands at the Lodestar at Ribchester, and later saw The Buzzcocks at the King George's Hall in Blackburn. I arrived after a darts match and the bouncers tried to confiscate my darts and belt, so I took em back to the car (the confiscated stuff was just being piled up). Then was amazed they were selling drinks in glasses, bottles and cans which idiots were chucking at the stage as well as gobbing at the band and at one point Shelley threatened to walk off. I didn't blame him, but the band played a full set and encore.

I then saw them at Newcastle UNi and the final time I saw them was a cracking set at the Mouth of Tyne Festival.

Pete Shelley wrote some amazing pop and produced some great solo albums and his second album "XL1" contained computer graphics for the ZX Spectrum that played in time with the music. As there's a Youtube take on that I'll include it below, but I am including a great video for my favourite Buzzcocks song "Why Can't I Touch It" absolutely perfect Shelley.