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Pam's Kind of Punk Diaries Anti-Nazi League Carnival at Craigmillar Park, Edinburgh

Pam's Kind of Punk Diaries

Anti-Nazi League Carnival at Craigmillar Park, Edinburgh

by Pam, Kind of Punk Diarist
first published: April, 2022

approximate reading time: minutes

Due to unforeseen Police activity, The Clash are a no-show at Edinburgh's Anti-Nazi Festival...

Anti-Nazi League Carnival at Craigmillar Park, Edinburgh
Saturday 5 August 1978

I got up at about 7.30 am and got ready to go- I wore my red trousers, my sister’s pink T shirt with my new pink top over it, my black PVC jacket, pink tights and gold shoes, with my hair tied back with a black tie. I took my baseball boots in a bag! When I appeared at breakfast wearing those trousers Dad remarked that no males would be able to restrain themselves and that it was just asking to be raped! He made me feel very uneasy.

At 9am Mum took me to the station. Unfortunately there weren't that many people about. I waited for a few minutes with growing nerves until R appeared. He looked at me with a fairly blank expression and bought two tickets. Then Z (his older brother) appeared, limping. We got onto the train and sat in a closed compartment- I sat opposite R and Z sat at the other side parallel to R. They did most of the talking and Z talked quite a bit to me. As more people got into the compartment the quieter we got.

We waited at Queen Street for a short while and were soon let onto the platform and the train came in. A school friend and another school friend’s mother were there - I ignored them and they me!

On the train to Edinburgh I sat beside R and opposite Z. We read bits of NME which R had bought at Queen Street. We had quite a silent journey to Edinburgh. Z asked me why girls wore tights under their shoes!!

Pam's programme

When we reached Edinburgh we met T and I introduced everybody. We dithered about in the station for ages then went up to Princes St - we walked along in the gardens and then crossed and went into R.S. McColls for food, ie bars of chocolate. T suggested that we went to the Wig and Pen for some food so I asked R and Z and they agreed though Z wasn't that keen. We walked there and Z bought drinks (orange juice for me) and after we drank we had cheese and tomato sandwiches. When we had finished we walked up to George IV Bridge and after waiting a short time caught a 42 bus out to Craigmillar Park. We got off the bus where a number of other people did, in sight of a field with tents and quite a number of people milling about. We walked up the road and through a gap between the railings to the field.

We walked along to the mass of people and found a place to sit down. (I was slightly irritated that T got to sit next to R) We saw A’s brother, who later came over to talk to T and then near the end came and asked me if A had left.

We sat till the first band came on then everyone at the front stood up so we had to in order to see. Before this T and I went and bought some badges.

  The bands were fairly good. The first were a reggae band whose name I can't remember and then another, then The Freeze who had supported Sham 69 at Clouds. They had improved quite a bit since then. During this T and I went off to speak to A. She was with her sister and some people from the Scars and other friends. I didn't say very much and there was a definite uncomfortable feeling about. We left A after a while. T asked Rab from the Scars for her feather boa back and he said to come after the Scars had been on (they were on next) and to go round to the side of the stage and he'd give it to her.

Before this during, I think, The Deleted, before The Freeze, a fight had broken out between a punk with chains and dog collar, leather jacket and blonde spiked hair who was very pissed and a guy in a T shirt with curly hair and jeans. They moved around near us and we had to keep leaping out of the way. R had his camera with him and he kept taking photos of everything. The fight ended up with someone smashing the punk with a bottle and he had blood streaming down his face. A girl went over to him and put his head on her shoulder and she got covered in blood too. Fights kept on breaking out and there was a boy of about 12 with spiked hair, a stocky build and red braces who was absolutely pissed out of his mind who kept wandering around aimlessly and causing trouble especially when he met a punk wearing a black knitted jumper with threads of lurex through it. Every time there was a fight R rushed towards it brandishing his camera. He also took photos of us, of the Scars, of the crowds, of some males trying to form a pyramid and of these young punks who kept going mad and rolling around the ground pogoing and sticking their tongues out at him when he took photos of them, especially one in particular who at one point started patting T on the head! They were really pretty harmless really. While I'm sort of on the subject of fights I might as well mention that bottles were being thrown about at one point. We all fled to beside the mixing tower where Z reckoned we'd be safe. T told me later that she'd been terrified and had grabbed R who at one point fell over onto a bottle in his flight. I didn't see this - I was too busy fleeing myself!

Anyway, to return to The Scars. They only sang three or four songs and did not get a very good reception. People kept throwing cans onto the stage and eventually there was an argument with the people in charge and the plugs were pulled out so the Scars couldn't continue - this sort of thing always happens to them! They really only did one good song and didn't get on to ‘Slime’. When they came off T and I went rushing down to get the feather boa back (which Rab took off before he sang). Rab told T it was ‘still up there’ and would be ‘coming down in a minute’. We waited at the side for ages and eventually a van drew up. We thought for a second that it might be the Clash who were was supposed to be coming, however it was the Scars and T got back her mangled boa! We returned to R and Z.

The next band were a fairly well known reggae band from London (Ed’s note: probably Aswad). They were pretty good and got a good reception on the whole. It was during this group that we had to flee to the shelter of the mixing tower.

T had to go when they had finished and we then returned to our former positions. The next band The Monos, were, I thought, rather good (so many goods... but I can't say lovely, genius-like, excellent or anything like!) but A didn’t agree, I discovered. She appeared near the end of their stint and we two walked to the loo tent and around a bit. We wandered about a bit and she told me that the little bebrace-ified little punk had tried to throttle her earlier on in the proceedings!

We went back to R and Z and she left me. Z went over to the stage and reported about a punk who had been lying clutching his stomach and hardly moving for ages. The steward came and looked at him and then went away. A few minutes later the guy started crawling away on his hands and knees.

It was announced that The Clash would not be playing. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones had been arrested in London last night and their trial was this morning. They missed the latest plane they could have caught in the afternoon to get here. After this announcement quite a number of people left.

The Valves came on after this and they were better than many of the others. R was away leaping about at the front and I didn't stand particularly still. Z kept going off and I was left on my own petrified for a few minutes but nothing happened to me.

Before the Valves, R found two cans of beer. He and I shared one but Z couldn't drink his because he said it was too warm. R took it and shook it and spread it all over the place and threatened Z with it and I kept at a safe distance.

Before we left at 7.30pm, R had accumulated 3 badges, one of which he had picked up and the other two which had been thrown off the stage, and a copy of the Rezillos ‘Can't Stand My Baby’ which had also been thrown off the stage. My plastic bag was full of leaflets which were given out by the various organisations brackets. R ripped up the Socialist Worker ones.

We then got the train back to Glasgow. (The diary entry goes on for some time after that, but it’s all about the journey back and how infatuated I was with R.)

(And just for info… some years later I joined the SWP and was a member for several years.)

Kind of Punk Diarist

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. These are her stories...
about Pam »»



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