So why Pukemon then?
"It's called Pukemon because I like crap jokes and Pukemon sounds nice but doesn't look good when written down. Otherwise I was going to call it The Spit & The Pendulum, but that will be the subtitle of the book I hope to do."
Are all the shots solely yours or are there others slipped in here and there?
"All the photos on the CDs are either taken by me, or the copyright is mine. 95% or more are taken by me. A few were given to me by my ex girlfriend after she gave up photography and sold all her camera gear, and there's one set, a colour one, given to me by Johnny Waller (R.I.P.) (ex-Sounds journalist- Don't Care) who said I could do what I wanted with them. Was there a reason why you asked? Is it because some of the early ones are so poor compared to later ones, or is there a style discernible in some which you noticed? Maybe they were the ones Joan took (she usually did posed portraits)."
The reason I asked about who took the pictures was that Ross Halfin from Sounds took some pictures of Pauline at the Vortex which I've got, so he must've took em at the exact same gig as yourself. I prefer the more gob-ridden in your face snaps, although they are all interesting.
"That was weird seeing those Pauline ones you sent me, after you said they looked similar. He must have been standing to my left to get Gary Chaplin so far over to one side. Obviously I wasn't looking around at the time. And there weren't actually that many people taking pics at gigs. Most gigs there was only ever going to be fans/fanzines wielding cameras. No professional would risk wrecking his gear unless he knew a gig wasn't likely to be full, on the off chance. If a gig review was being done then obviously they have to go. They all knew that to get really good pics that papers could use they'd have to effectively fight their way to the front, and then hold their ground! It wouldn't be a pleasant experience if you weren't totally into the idea. By the way, the reason the Penetration pics at the Vortex were so good and clear…that was the only gig in town where it had good lights and the stage was all of a couple of inches off the floor. As long as you didn't mind coming out covered in gob you got good pics. (Or, to put in another way, I never went that close again.)"
You interviewed Penetration too didn't you?
"Pauline Murray was brilliant, but hesitant, and seemingly bewildered a lot of the time. I LOVED all her later stuff (pretty Gothy a lot of it), although actually the Invisible Girls album was Gothier than the Storm stuff. She hated, absolutely loathed, the music industry. In Penetration they must have been like kids. Like in that Filth & Fury when it showed how shit everything was when we were growing up at the time, anything London bands experienced at being ripped off would have been far worse for someone from the North East.
These days everyone knows they've got labels round the corner, or there are centres of activity in various main towns and local scenes. Because there was nothing of the sort then and everything, in terms of control, was rooted in London, Penetration suffered really badly. Told what to do, used up and spat out with little help or advice. (Probably the only town which held its own because of Tony Wilson was Manchester. bands at least had some solidarity.)
When I interviewed her as The Invisible Girls, her and Rob were really annoyed they hadn't been told it was for Panache because they remembered the copies I'd sent to them in 77 and 78 and they really liked it. I'd got them at the very end of a day full of interviews and they were totally knackered and seriously apologetic. When I interviewed them later for ZigZag as Pauline Murray & The Storm (by which time I think Rob had become her boyfriend, I don't think they were an item any earlier) they were a lot more relaxed because they were in charge of anything. But they still seemed like wide-eyed innocents. Top marks for character though. Really nice."
You also have some good Vice Squad pix taken in an office, where was the Vice Squad interview? And were they iiiinteresting to talk to?
"That Vice Squad interview was at EMI so that's what? 82? Her and that bloke weren't dull, in fact they were friendly and seemed nice enough. I think they were just monumentally underwhelmed by being in EMI and they'd done a few interviews already so they weren't feeling too chipper. They didn't know how to pose, or to volunteer info though, which suggests they were a bit dim about the actual process. I suppose bands like them were used to mainly fanzine questions through the post. Interviews (apart from with Sounds) weren't going to be a common occurrence. They were okay as people. As interviewees your heart always sinks when you find yourself asking questions longer than the answers. By the time you met her she'd probably twigged the band were going nowhere. I think I only interviewed her because I liked 'Out Of Reach' if that's what it was called."
You had a soft spot for Action Pact what was George really like? Ws she romantically involved with anyone in the band?
"George was a little nutter from up the road in Stanwell. They were a mad band at their best. Kim and Des were the old bastards, with Kim being the brain and soul of the band, George was the heart, Des was the loony, and little Joe was the 12 year old drummer who suddenly sprouted about two foot in height and suddenly left the band, only to turn up famously in some post-punky thing a year or so later, who are the only band I ever heard of who rehearsed in a ....wait for it...pig-sty!!!!
George wasn't involved with any of the band. She wasn't THAT much of a nutter. She'd been out briefly with John from Dead Man's Shadow, but she never seemed to have a boyfriend when I knew them, and she didn't really think of herself as feminine in any special way when she was clearly attractive. She didn't think she was much of a performer, when she was pure attitude onstage. She was totally down to earth, with a laugh that could strip paint. Kim and Des were total windup merchants with her, and when she'd explode with anger at something they said, run off at the mouth for ten minutes unloading fury at them, only to realise they had set her up yet again, she would sit and seethe sullenly, glowering with spectacular hatred for, oh...anything up ten seconds. Funny for one so young and feral onstage with that piercing voice, she was meek and mild-mannered offstage to an almost ludicrous degree. Works for the Mean Fiddler now I think."
Who was the young punk sniffin' glue on the Action Pact 45 cover 'Suicide Bag'?
"'Pebble' (which I somehow doubt he was christened with) lived in Stanwell and followed the bands Action Pact and Dead Man's Shadow although he preferred AP. He is photographed outside the Anarchy Centre when both bands played with Rubella Ballet one day. It's not a real glue bag either, he is blowing asthmatically into an old crisp packet that was handy. The camera always lies. He was fairly small, and was famous locally for being knocked down by a driver who didn't notice until after he'd passed over him. He got very much into the whole political side of the anarcho scene as I recall and went on demos relating to vivisection, etc."
I love most of the pictures on your Pukemon collection, but some of the bands got pretty boring musically and visually!
"The bands got more boring? You cheeky bugger. Some were from the more experimental side of things where Punk meets Noise, but that's all part of it, and there were still cool things to gurgle over, like Blondie for one."
I noticed there are loads of Daisy Chainsaw pix on your CD compilations, why the big infatuation with Daisy Chainsaw?
"They were like a Punk and Goth band combined, with some indie and grunge elements, which made perfect sense during the early 90's, and they had a massive commercial streak buried intrinsically inside every violently energetic or claustrophobically moody song. They were by far and away the best live band I ever saw, and also the one band who could have been massive internationally, but fucked it all up by making their debut album all but impenetrable, when `Love Your Money' made an immediate impact as a single, and they had other songs which could have been even bigger. They should have taken over from Nirvana as the noisiest band around who had charisma, commercial possibilities and were never likely to be toned down. Instead they went weird."
Did Katie Jane Garside (Daisy Chansaw) really walk the streets barefoot?
"Oh yes. She would turn up at gig wearing a blanket. She is unusual. In fact she looked like she could have come straight out of the pages of Sandman, if anyone's into comics."
Now you've mentioned comics lets talk about your first involvement in the printed word and Panache. Got any copies of Panache left?
"Panache's definitely don't exist any more. I don't have more than a handful. I did think about trying to get my collection back together again but then thought they're mainly memories, and I CAN still remember them, so why do I need a collection? When the time comes that I can't remember them I will, presumably, be senile, and therefore the less boxes of old stuff laying around the slighter the chance of stumbling over things and being found by the council workmen three weeks after a neighbour first phones up to complain about the smell. Hardly a death worth speaking of. You see, you have to plan ahead!"
Tell us more about what Panache was about?
"Sadly, by not always going with the froth and straightforward fury of other fanzines (and the way the music papers were creakily going as it took them time to adapt) we were seen by some idiots as being weird, or daft. In fact we were just more interesting, as time has proved us to be right.
What exactly did Julie Burchill print about issue #1 of the zine?
"The Burchill thing isn't interesting. I wasn't surprised she labelled our fanzine as sixth form drivel, because I never expected someone like her to get Punk, or what we were doing. (Jane Suck was the real thing, Julie Burchill was a hopeless case)…but Panache was different. We tried to have a different scope to thing and involve as many friends as possible. So in early issues we had things like someone writing about Pink Floyd and saying that while they are obvious `enemies' of Punk now, only ten years before they were just as credible as punk bands during the heyday of the early Psychedelic stage. And we had a piece on Nick Drake, the tortured genius, because we thought if people can take Nico as a serious artist why not him? If we wrote those articles now, alongside serious analytical pieces on Punk nobody would bat an eyelid. If, indeed, anyone ever has."
Can you disclose some of the highlights of your infamous Banshee interview?
"The Banshees story was more because Jorn (my fellow conspirator) was mad. We'd been delayed with our interview because the band were late and so another interview was being done first, as we waited in the back room of their publicist's place. With it being an exceptionally hot day we soon had the windows open, and realized there was a little flat roof outside so we started exploring. I got bored and went back into the rear office to see what I could nick out of the cupboards and suddenly Jorn burst in through the window handed the cassette machine and camera over to me and planned a speedy exit. When I asked why he explained he'd decided to use a different window, for a laugh, which would mean he could come through the front of the office again and surprise everyone, but unfortunately he'd picked the wrong window and had been found trying to gain access to someone's bathroom.
When the police did thunder up the stairs, the band did a rapid dash to the loo to flush certain thing away, and the interview got off to a slow a difficult start, although they were actually very nice after a while, if slightly suspicious."
And that censored punk sex article?
"The Punk Sex article was meant to be fun but the day after we'd dropped the issue in at the printers we got a call asking us to come and discuss a problem. When we got there the woman of the husband and wife team who owned the place suddenly let out a squeal, gathered up her books, and raced from the room. The man explained that while he didn't have a problem with the material personally…well. y'know, his wife works here and they have girls working there (one of whom was giving him the wanker hand signal behind his back) so we couldn't have the two pages of Genesis P Orridge fucking some woman out of Throbbing Gristle. I did explain that the surprisingly sordid photos we'd found in a dodgy mag and had ripped off was our way of laughing at what the media regarded as `Punk' and that we found these tattooed, pierced individuals strangely ugly. He ended up laughing about the whole thing, and agreed to print the rest of the issue, but we had to lose those pages and ended up agreeing to cover up the last remaining offending pic with a photo of some Tory councillor who was always slagging punk off in the press."
And finally what unwanted attention did the 'Adam Ant is Married' piece result in?
"The Ants thing was just odd. Shortly after `Kings' propelled Adam into the Mega Pop Star echelons, obviously it became a tabloid extravaganza, etc. Somehow a publisher of one of those crappy poster mags found out that I knew a fair bit about Adam and he phoned me, during which time the news came out that I knew Adam was married, which excited him no end. Worse, I let slip I knew where Adam lived, although I'd never been there or ,wanted to go round there myself.
This bloke dogged me for weeks. Would I sell him the info? What did I think of his idea to print a map showing how fans could get to Adam's house!??? And so it went on.
Fair enough, I thought Adam's strange descent into blander, poppier waters was a disgraceful move, which also showed he had little respect for his own talents, but I wasn't going to sell the bloke down the river and make his life hell.
But I thought that this man simply had some kind of mental problem to even suggest such a thing, so I was always very polite to him, which led to me always agreeing to the next meeting. He was clearly paranoid, because one day we would have to meet at the end of the platform on Osterley tube station, the next time it would be outside Wood Green station by the railings, and so on, when it would only have taken a phone call for me to say, No, I'm still not going to do it. Then he'd say he was prepared to double/treble the offer and we'd meet up again. He'd get all excited, thinking I'd changed my mind, I'd start to get bored, and soon the meeting would be over.
In the end he gave up, crestfallen. Feeling guilty to have possibly messed HIM around (!) I did do some ordinary Pop Star type article about Adam, along with an interview about Toyah, for a standard fee, without any controversial elements included.
The sad moral of this story is that I never learned my lesson. When someone pops up offering you wads of cash for what would be an immoral move on my part, why didn't I realise that this was not an exception? Looking back, over half of the main people I have encountered in Publishing have been completely untrustworthy.
This should have been the perfect indication for me of what lay ahead, and I simply dismissed it out of mind. I'm an idiot."
Being a zinewriter I had to ask your views on interviews?
"And then…there was postal interviews (now e-mail equivalents). They do tend to be stilted if the person being interviewed doesn't have anything to say. What I'm looking forward to doing in my books is getting people writing something, effectively, in a way they probably haven't in years. If someone has something to say which would normally make a conventional interview really dull, or doomy, or seem pretentious they'd keep certain things to themselves, but when they have a chance to say whatever they like they can come up with something really profound."