SECTION TWO: THE BLACK AND WHITE YEARS, ISSUES 5 – 9 (SPEED)
As I moved to London with R&T, beginning with issue 5, which was mainly written in a bed-sit in Willesden Green, then from issue 7 written in 2 Bramley Road, a squatted pub called the Trafalgar situated within a squatted community known as Frestonia.
(I’ll try and do more about the Frestonia story. With links (google the word), including our neighbours the Apocalypse Hotel?)
Ripped & Torn issues 5 and Six Summer 1977.
Me moving to London. In R&T5 I mention that Mark P. has given up the editorship of Sniffin’ Glue (it folds shortly after). From issue six I am using the same printer as Sniffin’ Glue – out in Cambridge, and am typing up the words on the Sniffin’ Glue typewriter in the Sniffin’ Glue office on Oxford Street. Harry Murlowski has set this up. There’s also the first appearance of Step Forward/Faulty Products adverts appearing. Looking at this now I see a big break slipping through my fingers, Miles Copeland – who financed all this office space – must’ve been looking R&T over as a successor to SG. But I was too snotty to know better.
An even bigger break passed me by when Janet Street Porter came around at the time of the Queens Silver Jubilee procession going past the offices down Oxford Street. She chatted to me and Skid Kid first then spent a long time with SG contributor Danny Baker. Shortly after this she got him onto TV and his career rocketed.
I was too busy climbing onto a telephone box to boo the Queens limousine to take much notice of this journalist. And what was a career anyway?
Skid Kid and I had just moved from Sandy Robertson and Alex Ferguson’s floor to the squatted pub in Frestonia, a place occupied by several Rough Trade staff.
Sandy and Alex soon joined us in this large building.
At the same time as all this was happening a strange mood was overtaking the Music press – they had begun the ‘punk is dead’ campaign to varying degrees of success.
Meanwhile pubs and clubs were bursting with punk bands playing to crowds coming to London to find the punk scene they’d read about.
A photographer called Jem Gibbs began sending in photos from gigs he’d been to and they quickly found their way into the pages.
Likewise a cartoonist, Phil Smee, began sending in some strange strips about penguins. These also found their way into the next issues.
Both elements helped improve the quality of the subsequent issues, and also began to give R&T a style and identity.
I never met either of these people in all the time of doing R&T!
As the punks kept pouring into London, squatting began happening on an ever larger scale. I remember walking from an Ants gig at the Roundhouse in Camden down Tottenham Court road and installing the derelict flats on Charing Cross Road a whole load of homeless punks. A few weeks later they’d spread throughout the block.