Friday, 20 November 2015

Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day: Sex Pistols-on-Thames

Elsewhere in Rock'n'Roll London…

The building project for South Bank Tower (pictured below) already looms over the Thames in the borough of Southwark – 11 additional storeys are being added to the fundamental structure (the former King's Reach Tower, designed by Richard Seifert and dating from 1972) and a complete redesign of the exterior has taken place.

In 1977, at the height of Punk, this location was the unlikely HQ of the NME, Britain's famous weekly music newspaper.



The paper was moved here from offices in Long Acre by parent company IPC, partly in an attempt to curb the outre behaviour and excesses of the music journalists, a team that included some of the most fabled names in music writing – Nick Kent, Julie Burchill and Charles Shaar Murray among them.

Such characters were always going to stand out when surrounded by the staff of such dowdy sister titles as Horse & Hound and TV Times.

Murray is quoted in Pat Long's excellent  History of the NME – High Times & Low Lives at the World's Most Famous Music Magazine:


"One of the many reasons that we hated being moved to King's Reach Tower was that it made it harder for Lemmy [Motorhead founder, writer, bassist & singer] to come round and sell us our speed."


The 25th floor office of the NME afforded clear views right out across London and was a safe vantage point for the Sex Pistols infamous Jubilee cruise in 1977 – the band performed live on a boat, the pointedly named – the Queen Elizabeth. The party was infamously broken up by the police at Charing Cross Pier.

Not that any self-respecting NME hack wanted a safe vantage point

Reporting for the NME Tony Parsons wrote…


"A cop smiled and punched me in the chest," reported Tony Parsons for the NME, "There was a sadistic glee in the way they went about their business."

Here's some footage of the infamous event…



And here's a second cameo from the much-missed Lemmy, giving his version of the Pistols' God Save The Queen atop a double-decker London bus…






The Rock'n'Roll London Walk meets today at Tottenham Court Road Station 2pm.



POST UPDATED 16/3/16

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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