Sex Pistols – The Cancelled Derby gig 1976

Ooh the excitement, the Sex Pistols were coming to Derby again (having already played Cleo’s on 30 September).  Upon hearing the good news I promptly went down to the local record store R.E.Cords and purchased my ticket for the mighty sum of £1.60.  And they had support, the Damned, Johnny Thunders Heartbreakers (an ex New York Doll) and The Clash.  This was The Anarchy in the U.K. tour, and in solidarity with them I promptly ripped my ‘Never Mind the Bollocks.. Here’s The Sex Pistols’ LP cover in half (then sellotaped it back together again – well how else was I going to store it with all my other LPs?).

They were due to play the King’s Hall (basically the local swimming baths, they used to cover the pool so bands could play!) in Derby on 4 December 1976.

Unfortunately for me and hundreds more what happened on December 1st, 1976 would put an end to what would have been a great night out. The group appeared on the ‘Today’ TV show, hosted by one Bill Grundy (dick head!) who goaded them into swearing – now that certainly was frowned upon in those days – let alone the stream of F-words. Alas this was being broadcast live in London. The next day the press made them headline news all over the UK.  Overnight their entire concert dates for December were pretty much all cancelled!

Derby Gig Cancelled

All this publicity was far too much for the good folk of Derby City Council to bear – don’t forget this was ‘up north – the provinces’.  They decided that they should preview the gig to make sure it was ‘suitable for human consumption’.  So at the aforementioned hour (14:00) local councillors and press gathered at the venue where the Pistols had promised to preview a matinee gig for them.  They all waited for 2 hours in front of an empty stage (bar a guitar and amp) but the Pistols didn’t turn up! Angered councillors said that the Pistols would not be allowed to perform, but the other bands could.  Malcolm McClaren had decided that none of the bands should play, however the Damned disagreed.  After some discord the event was off, nobody played.

Well what’s a poor boy to do?  That’s right, take your ticket back and get a refund. After all £1.60 in those days was the equivalent to an excellent night out with a pint being approx. 25 pence!

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