It will always be a disappointment to me that I’m too young to have really participated in punk. The late seventies were breakthrough years for the almost-teenage me and when I went into the town centre on a Saturday I was completely fascinated by the punks in the shopping centre who all used to hang around by the fountain and just look hard. Fantastic.
My musical knowledge (up until this point my musical knowledge embraced just ABBA, The Smurfs and an Acker Bilk record my parents owned) rocketed by reading the band names painted on the backs of their leather jackets: Flux Of Pink Indians, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Angelic Upstarts, 999, Sex Pistols, Generation X. A whole new world was suddenly open to me and, with John Peel’s help, I managed to get an idea what these bands all sounded like before starting comprehensive school and being amazed that some of the punks from the fountain were actually at my school.
Then my punk equivalent happened. It got to be the early 80s, and people who looked like those punks I’d admired were suddenly making music that I really liked, music that combined that look with electronic sounds that I loved and could make mine, and I was smitten. I worshipped Toyah (still do as a matter of fact, I have a signed poster of her on the wall of my office. People think I’m doing it to be ironic. I’m not), and at the same time wanted to look like David Sylvian, or Nick Rhodes, or Steve Strange. I also became obsessive about music to the extent that I read and memorised Smash Hits, Record Mirror and the NME, and anything else I could get my hands on no matter how vaguely connected with music it may have been.
And then the gigs started. I loved them, from the first all the way through to today and I hope I will always experience the thrill that comes from seeing a great live concert. I estimate that I’ve been to well over 2000 gigs so far and the experience is holding up pretty well so far!
I’m lucky today in that I work in the music industry and have done for all my working life, so music has always been given the room to remain a major force in my life, but among all the things I do This Is Not Retro is something very close to my heart and I’m very proud of it.
I started the site in 2002 because I realised that there was no real media outlet for the current activities of a lot of the artists I considered ‘mine’, and yet so many of those same artists are still working musicians, still putting out great music and are constantly fighting to reconnect with an audience without being relegated to the ‘eighties nostalgia’ bin.
This Is Not Retro is for those artists for doing what they do, and it’s for you, for being interested.