Public Image Ltd – Public Image
Virgin VS 228
1978 UK

I saw the single in its newspaper wrapping in Woolworths, though I can’t remember where, in Oxfordshire I would guess. I remember walking over to it and picking it up, then opening it up to have a look to see what it was and then putting it back because I had no money. In Abingdon maybe? No matter, the important bit is that I couldn’t buy it, which is a shame as I absolutely loved it and still do all these years later.

We all have different views, opinions and tastes but for me, this is a masterpiece.

See the rest that are in the box here

The Beat/P.I.L – O2 Academy, Oxford

I am not really in great physical shape at the moment so attending a gig was very much not something that I would have chosen to do last night, but I bought a ticket months ago and I did not want to not go and then regret it later, so I went. Public Image Ltd were headlining with support from The Beat.

The O2 is about 25 minutes from where I work and there is a nearby car park so it wasn’t IMG_2052difficult to get to, I just needed to work late so that when I set off for the gig I wasn’t stuck in rush hour traffic. I arrived just before 7PM, which is when the doors opened, but decided to avoid the building queue and sit in Subway across the road with a Ham & Turkey sub on wheat bread, it’s the lowest fat one they do. I took a photo of it, don’t judge me.

I wandered over at about 7:30 and found the place to be pretty empty so I walked to the front and hung about 5 people back from the stage, which would turn out to be fortuitous as the heat in the place when it filled up was massive and I’d accidentally chosen to stand right under the air conditioning, which they put on at 8:45, by then it was a little late but it was better than not being on at all.

The beat were really very good, full of energy, getting the audience to join in and happily playing the songs the audience wanted to hear. I did take a couple of minutes to get my phone out and record a song, which shows my proximity to the stage as well.

Frontman Rankin Roger introduced his co-vocalist as Rankin Roger Jnr, which is nice. They did about an hour and it was really enjoyable, despite the heat.


At 8:50 P.I.L took to the stage and, being entirely truthful, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Perhaps this is my own fault as I love P.I.L and maybe I was expecting more than I should have, but the sound was a bit muddy, the levels on the vocal often made it unintelligible (which sometimes it’s supposed to be, but when it’s not, it shouldn’t be). I stood in the same spot for 4 songs but then had to move further back as space was getting tighter and, as previously mentioned, I’m not in the best of shape to deal with that at the moment.

I did do a quick snippet of ‘This is not a love song’, which is below, and listening to it back this morning, it sounds better on the video than it did being there. John Lydon, as he does nowadays, read the majority of his lyrics and still forgot some of them, or more likely lost his place. It was song after song with almost nothing in-between and I felt at times like I was present at a practice session and felt that they weren’t really up for it and were going through the motions somewhat. I could be entirely wrong about this and it may have been me projecting how I was feeling on to the band. Oh, the video is the wrong way up, bloody phone (because it can’t possibly be my fault! It’s been corrected in youtube, so that’s better)

I was still enjoying the gig but I had to leave early as it was all getting a bit too much for me to deal with and I had over an hour still to drive home.IMG_2062

I did try and take a few pictures of P.I.L but they were bloody awful so I quickly gave up.

I was glad I had the opportunity to see P.I.L. live and do wish I had been in finer fettle and could have stayed until the end.

What’s in the bag? (10, 11 & 12!)

March 02 I said right here, I would be getting more P.I.L on vinyl, and I did, although his time it came in a different bag. I was in London and found myself with about an hour to spare so I wandered off oxford street an into Soho where Google maps assured me I would find ‘Sister Ray’ records (they have a IMAG0509facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sisterrayrecords). I arrived to find the store closed down, and then my disappointment was gone as I saw they had just moved to the other side of the road. Looking at the bag I see they also have a website: http://www.sisterray.co.uk (not much there at the moment though).

Anyway, moving on, when I was still a young man I did have the 7″ single ‘Public Image’ but I couldn’t afford the album, which is a good thing as I wouldn’t have liked it then, I’m pretty sure of that. The single was reminiscent of the Sex Pistols, the rest of the album wasn’t. I listened to it years later and loved it though. It remains probably my favourite P.I.L album. There is a pretty interesting wiki page about the album here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Image:_First_Issue

I only bought two albums at Sister Ray, both P.I.L, both in great condition, here is that first one:



And here is the second, another good record. I do think that in many quarters they aren’t given the credit that perhaps they should receive, although it certainly isn’t for all ears, I get that, it is not thrown together in an anarchic way, there are elements of all manner of different styles of music that influence these recordings and I find it to all be rather cleverly constructed:



Finally a more recent offering, that I am not too sure about as yet, I haven’t listened to it enough, this one was £13 from HMV.






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