Pam Cross kept a diary when she was a teenager. During the period when she first started going to gigs in the late 1970s in Scotland’s central belt she would travel from her small, home town to Edinburgh and Glasgow to watch some of the well known and less well known punk and new wave bands of the time. Pam is now a volunteer with Sandwell Visually Impaired and Talking News after years’ working in the public and voluntary sector. Here is a second extract from Pam’s punky diaries and we hope to continue to publish her tales in the future. (Part One is can be found here).
In episode 2, Buzzcocks, there is language of the era that we wouldn't use now.
Buzzcocks at the Glasgow Apollo
Sunday 4 June 1978
(I am 16 and a half)
At 4pm A came and after that I got ready to go. I was a bit nervous and so was B (my sister aged 14). At 4.55pm we left for the station.
When we got there we we bought our tickets and prepared to wait. X (friend of sister) was already there. S (schoolfriend) had not arrived and was not there by 5.10pm. We were very worried in case she hadn't got the message. I had told her dad to tell her. We were going to phone her but we didn't know her number and when we looked it up it wasn't in the 1975 directory in the station. Eventually she arrived though, with a male.
A spoke to them and eventually we moved to the platform to wait for the train. There were some boys on the platform who called out “punk! punk!”. They followed us up the platform and got on the same carriage and, horror of horrors, sat in the seats beside us!! They made comments and I really couldn’t help smiling. Most un- punk like. They were pathetic to tell the truth. They said why didn't we spew up and that we were poseurs. They kept singing ‘no more heroes’ and offered my sister cigarettes and kept prodding her. S told them to piss off. It then started to rain. X tried to shut the window but couldn't manage it. The rain was driving in and the boys kept asking us to close it saying “we're getting wet! It's raining you know rain, water, drip! drip!” etc. It was enough to make you want to hit them. Then the lady behind us started grumbling in a loud voice. The boys before they left came to close the window. We were really relieved when they left!
When we reached Anniesland we all leapt off and were starting to climb up the bridge when we heard the announcement that we were to change at Hyndland. We all rushed back onto the train. It was rather embarrassing!
At Queen St we waited around waiting for T and were dreading telling her the bad news – that the Scars weren't playing! When A told me earlier I was really, really disappointed. At the station we saw quite a few punks. T eventually arrived and we went into the cafe and had cups of tea, then all went to the loo.
When we arrived outside the Apollo there was a long queue of punks and we stood at the end of it. Gradually it moved and eventually we got into the theatre. It was pretty vast. My friends and my seats were in a good position but my sister and her friend were at the back.
At the beginning of the concert the audience was half dead. The Zones were on instead of the Scars and they were I thought a bit boppy and their music was nearly all the same.
Penetration were very good but the audience was terrible. They livened up towards the end and the encores Penetration did were excellent.
Before the Buzzcocks came on there was a long interval. Someone came up and said ‘Hello Pamela’ it was J. His brother was also there but he was in the background. J talked to me for ages. He said Penetration were rotten which I disagreed with and also that they sounded like X-Ray Spex which I said wasn't true.
When the Buzzcocks started J stayed beside us. He introduced one of his friends whose name I didn't catch. This was a very small person who I didn't look at but shook hands with. As the time went on J pulled off all his clothing from his top half. I took off my jacket (that aertex is quite cool, as in cold, thing)!
The Buzzcocks were fantastic, wonderful, amazing! Pete Shelley speaks with a soft Manchester accent and is really funny. Steve Diggle sang ‘Autonomy’. John Maher the drummer when he did a solo was all lit up and beams of light were reflected out- it was really excellent. Everyone came to life and we were leaping about a bit and shaking quickly.
The Buzzcocks did four encores. We were all yelling for more. We had all been singing along with the songs and really enjoyed ourselves. B and X came down to us before the encores
When the thing finished it about 11:00 PM we all trooped out and X and S went to the loo. A bit of wallpaper was hanging from the wall. A surreptitiously tore it off behind her back (we have all got bits now). Some skinheads came along and said something about punks being OK but skinheads were better!
Mum was parked outside and B and X went with her. Dad was further down and we walked down. It was pouring with rain and the roads had earlier been blocked. Mum had the lid of her petrol tank taken off.
On the way back Dad stopped in at his office then we continued home and dropped off S. When we got back we had biscuits and cups of tea and talked till about 2:00 AM. T and A of course stayed the night.
I have never enjoyed myself so much in my life I wish I! I wish I could go again. T will see them again in Edinburgh and A may be allowed to go to.
Weds 21 June 1978
Dad came home and brought with him - yes, The Clash concert tickets- £2.50 each and we have practically the same seats as last time – row S, 34, 35 and 36.
(To be continued)
Read part one of Pam's Kind of Punk Diaries here →