Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Holiday in the Sun

A bit of history day. I've been trawling through ancient posts and PDFs, and came across a snapshot of some old blogs. Back in October 2008, the local blogsphere was not quite as populated as it is today, and there were quite a few blogs which have disappeared without trace.

A Holiday in the Sun
Senator Stuart Syvret's Blog
The Moving Finger
Forthcoming Business
Jersey Twenty Four Seven
Voice For Children
Tony's Musings
Crapaudmatic (photoblog)

"Voice for Children" is still around, as is the now renamed "Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret's Blog", and "Jersey Twenty-Four Seven" , although the latter has not posted in over a year.  Tony is of course still musing about all sorts.  But "The Moving Finger", a semi-satirical site has long gone, as has the site I always thought it tried to copy, "A Holiday in the Sun".

What I enjoyed about "A Holiday in the Sun" was that it was quite varied in the news items it discussed. It did discuss Haut de La Garenne, and child abuse in Jersey - the hot topic of 2008 bloggers, but that was tempered with stories on GST or education, always in a well-informed and well-argued way. And clever leaks or accurate guesses about government policy on planning also appeared there. Rather like Private Eye, self-contradiction within Government statements was picked up on, as for example here:

Chief Minister Frank Walker, July 2nd, defending the Council of Ministers against a vote of no confidence:
"Senator Vibert talked about our schools, another great example of where Jersey is head and shoulders above most other jurisdictions. We achieve AMAZING exam results, we have a whole range of beautiful new schools, well managed, where our kids are being well educated."

Economic Development Minister Philip Ouzouf, July 29th, addressing the Economic Scrutiny panel:

"Highlands College is at the very heart of what we are trying to achieve. But it is not a secondary school, and there are serious questions about the amount of money they are spending on giving a number of 16 - 18 year olds basic numeracy and literacy skills. There are some tough questions about why we are in this position, and why we need to spend so much money on basic numeracy and literacy."

Make of that what you will....

And interspersed among that are some historical gems. One is about the Sex Pistol's visit to Jersey, and as far as I am able to ascertain, it is an account not found elsewhere - although a précis of parts of this story can be found in other places.

I'm not myself a fan of the Sex Pistols, but it's an interesting historical anecdotes about those enfants terrible of the pop world,  and indicates something of how the authorities reacted in 1977. Remember that in 1979, two years later, the Bailiff would take it upon himself alone to effectively ban Monty Python from being seen, despite the British Board of Film Censor's Rating of AA. When the British authorities were clamping down on the Sex Pistols antics, and the turmoil around them, Jersey was perhaps not the wisest choice for a holiday in a more liberal state.

Here there is an article from 2007, with thanks to the anonymous blogger "A Holiday in the Sun", and I would welcome any comments from him as to how he uncovered the original story. Something you won't read in Balleine's History of Jersey!

A Holiday in the Sun
(originally posted March 2007)

30 years ago this week, believe it or not, legendary Punk Rockers the Sex Pistols were kicked out of Jersey. At that time they were at the height of their notoriety. Over the course of the previous few months they had been banned from playing in most of the UK, their antics had caused assorted outcries in the national press, and questions had even been asked in Parliament concerning the possibility of a clampdown on the Punk Rock "menace".

The extremely negative and high-profile media exposure they were getting had led to a number of attacks upon members, making it unsafe for them to walk London's streets. Drummer Paul Cook required hospital treatment after being beaten around the head by a gang with an iron bar in Shepherd's Bush tube station. Singer Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), the most visible face of the band, was attacked in a pub car park by a gang, one of whom attempted to hack him with a machete - which led to permanent damage to one of the Rotten's wrists.

It was under this cloud of violence and oppression that the band decided a break was needed outside of the England, if anything just to get some sense of normality back...and thus on March 23rd 1977 they ended up on our sunny shores, unannounced. At Jersey Airport they were immediately taken aside at Customs to be strip-searched, bass player Sid Vicious later claiming "when the Customs bloke tried to look up my arse, I farted in his face". Alerted by Customs, a number of local Police officers arrived at the Airport - their initial purpose to warn the band to be off the island by the next day.

There's not much available evidence of how the Sex Pistols spent their 24 hours over here, aside from mention in John Lydon's book 'Rotten' of having been "driven around the island by a local gangster".....and of course being followed everywhere by the Police.

The trip however did prove to be somewhat more historic in partially being the inspiration for 'Holidays In The Sun', the opening track of their album 'Never Mind The Bollocks' - a debut now recognised as a having changed the face of modern music. 'Holidays In The Sun' was also released as a single, reaching number 8 in the UK charts.

The subject matter of the song mainly concerns the need to escape the paranoia then surrounding the band, but took most of it's influence from two weeks they spent in Berlin directly after leaving Jersey. The title of the song and the imagery for the single were inspired by their Jersey jaunt, the single sleeve using holiday brochure graphics, with other promotional material using imagery of a packed beach. Sleeve designer (and now renowned artist in his own right, Jamie Reid) accompanied the Pistols on the Jersey trip.

The band briefly referred to Jersey in the liner notes for their 1995 compilation album 'Kiss This':

Paul Cook: We had to get out of London. Malcolm Mclaren (band Manager) wanted us to leave for a while because we were causing too much trouble at the time. We were fed up with not having any money and the pressure of London. All the publicity and the fights were going on. Malcolm was trying to put a deal together and we didn't want to be around. We went down to Jersey, then had quite a good time in Berlin for a couple of weeks holiday.

John Lydon: We tried our holiday in the sun on the isle of Jersey and that didn't work. They threw us out. Being in London at the time made us feel like we were trapped in a prison camp environment. We didn't have enough money to escape from the infamy of it all. There was hatred and constant threat of violence. The best thing we could do was to go set up in a prison camp somewhere else. Berlin and its decadence was a good idea. The song came about from that.

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