By Michael Elvidge
Namez have been changed to protect the guilty.
Well to add a little background to this before I get to the main shit, I’ve been a big Sex Pistols fan ever since I was 13 (1988) and I had the Never Mind The Bollocks cassette. At that time they had all ready been broken up for like 10 years so there was no gawd damn chance that I would ever see them play live. Plus the beloved-ed Sid was dead, who would cut themselves on stage or do Heroin? Plus Sid was the lead singer right! (Or so all these idiots would believe) NANCYEEEeeeeee___
Anyway it was 1996 and after going through college for “Art”, my great expectations for drawing and painting for a living had been thrown into the garbage can of reality. I was stuck working in some crappy road construction job and all my talents were going to waste. When the Sex Pistols new tour was announced I was blown away and knew that I had to go to this if I never did anything else in my life. The Sex Pistols were a major influence and inspiration to me throughout the years. I bought two tickets, one for me and one for a whoever I could convince to take me. A friend of mine said that he’d go and he also knew a few of his friends that were already going and that we could stay with them at this girl’s place in Toronto that they used to go to school with. She worked at a bank or something and liked younger guys (like me!). Well I got 2 days off work, since the concert was on a Monday night and we wanted to get fucked up while we were down in Toronto. My friend, let’s call him Bill, had agreed to meet his friends (we’ll call them Clem & Mott) at a bar on Queen St. across form MuchMusic. We smoked a few joints on the way down and made it to Toronto in good time. We wanted to get there early so we could meet up at the bar and find out where this girl’s apartment was that we would be staying at. On Queen St. we parked at some $10 parking lot and headed out to find this bar. As we walked down the street we spotted Clem and Mott at the outdoor portion of the bar. We went in and ordered a few beers, some guy came over to us and tried to sell us a cigarette lighter, everyone declined the offer and the guy began ranting, “Well at least I’m not bumming change, I’m working for a living!”
After leaving the bar we went into the “Friendly Stranger” there was an amazing amount of drug paraphernalia. A store like this would be shut down by the armed local rednecks in my hometown (Durham Ontario, population 2600, winner of the best Blooming Town in Canada or something 1996, 1997, I think?) It was pretty cool, we got some hemp rolling papers and I found it funny that all the customers in the store besides us were under 18 years of age. We decided we better get to this girl’s place (we’ll call her Marilyn) so we could meet her when she got off work.
After finding her place we then had to find a parking spot, we found one around the block. We walked down the street with our sleeping bags and waited in front of Marilyn’s place, she showed up about 20 minutes later, damn, was she hot! Her place was small but nice, we drank more beer and smoked more pot. We also had brought along some Magic Mushrooms for the concert and took them about a half-an-hour before we left. Marilyn (half-baked on pot by now) took us to the Molson Amphitheatre in her sporty compact car. I was partly drunk on beer and weed and cramped into the backseat. The line up to get into the place was like some cattle herd and I’ve never seen so many punks and freaks gathered in one place before. I began to feel the effects of the mushrooms as I stood there, I looked up and saw that we were being taped by video cameras (there had been a shooting at the Caribana fest a week or so before so I guess they were taking precautions). Behind us in line were a bunch of drunk 14 or 15 year old punks with dye from their hair on their clothing like they had just dyed it hours before. They were all sporting Sid Vicious T-shirts. One of them was right hammered and swaying back and forth and moving closer to Bill and me, I was freaked out that the guy was gonna get violent. A female Security guard at the park told this group of punks that their friend would not be allowed in. The trashed guy’s buddies told him to straighten out or he wouldn’t get in, all of them were holding mixed whiskey drinks in plastic cups in their hands. Next thing you know the drunk punk starts puking, everyone scattered to avoid the puke contact, the female guard then tells them again that he wouldn’t be allowed in. His buddy then dragged him off to the car, no Sid Vicious for you puke punk.
As we neared the front of the line we had to remove everything from our pockets and were searched. There were two barrels with a bit of water in the bottom at the front of the line where the cops would throw the dope they confiscated into. We made it through alright with dope stashed and undetected, Clem and Mott weren’t so lucky. Mott was caught with weed and mushrooms but all they did was take them away and let him in to the show. About 20 feet past the entrance I saw some kid pull a huge bag of Bud out of his pants and brag to his friends “look what I got in.” We found our seats which were back a little ways but still pretty good, fuck I’m too old for that mosh pit stuff. Clem and Mott’s seats were on the floor but not in the pit. By the time we got to our seats the opening act “Goldfinger” had already left the stage and “Gravity Kills” were on. I thought that they sucked shit, why the hell didn’t they have some punk band instead of this heavy metal band. Everyone in the place was sitting down as they played, there were lots of hot looking punk chicks, 2 girls in front of us were from Hanover, a town right beside Durham (where I live) hell I went to school with these girls, but didn’t really know them. Still, it was sort of strange traveling at that way and meeting people from your area.
Another drunk Mohawk punker was dancing and yelling up and down the stairways that divided up the seating areas, some cops grabbed him and hauled him away kicking and screaming. “Gravity Kills” left the stage (thank God) and a hush filled the crowd, by this time I was beginning to pick up mild visual hallucinations from the shrooms and was grinning ear to ear as my molecules vibrated in time with the sound of colour. Reggae music played as the roadies set up the equipment for the act that everyone was there for. Twenty minutes (well it seemed like it) later it was dark outside and the Pistols hit the stage. Everyone stood up. They burst into “Bodies”, I stared peaking on the shrooms and we smoked more joints and enjoyed the ride. Johnny Rotten, dressed in some cyber punk plastic suit and with a futuristic new hair cut, insulted the crowd and said “Thanks for all the Money!” They played all the songs off the Bollocks album plus a few others. The Pistols sound wasn’t as trashy and raw it was more metallic and speeded up a notch or two. Some people probably think that the Sex Pistols have sold out by doing this but fuck them, this was a one time thing (I hope) the Rolling Stones and every other 60’s band have been milking the people for years. Steve Jones shed his shirt half way through to show off his tattoos, Paul Cook was barely seen behind the drum set, and original Bass player Glenn Matlock looked like one of the “Mods” from Quadriphenia. Glenn got “violent” at one point and threw a shoe back at the audience.
By this time I could barely distinguished when a song started or ended and my balance was screwed up. My arms and legs felt rubbery while the sounds of the Sex Pistols blasted through my eardrums. Johnny Rotten seemed most active on stage with all his hunch back posturing and almost robotic type dance movements. When the concert was over I had come down a bit from the shrooms, Bill and me waited outside the place to see if we could find Clem and Mott. We sat there for about half an hour. Some 13 years old kids came up to us and told us how they smashed up the seats during the show and smoked a joint with some 50 year-old man whose eyes turned beet red. There was some Dominatrix type girl with a riding crop who whipped some guy. Bill and me sat on a bench by some phone booth and had a smoke. Some wasted punk girl came over and sat next to me on the bench, I wondered if she wanted a cigarette but she didn’t say anything to me and just sat there for like 10 minutes. She was pretty with real short reddish hair and freckles, suddenly she just got up and walked off. A bunch of spoiled rich “punk” teenagers were sitting there talking, I overheard them mention something like we were waiting to steal their bikes which were chained near Bill and me on the bench. After making them worry a bit, we decided, fuck waiting for the other guys, we’ll walk back on our own. We headed down a road right by the water which lead to a park. We sat on some benches for a bit. I noticed two shapes moving in the distance, it was, to our shock, two people fucking on a bench. The CN tower seemed like the next place to go, that and the Skydome because I’ve never seen either of them other then on TV. We made it there and I lay down on the ground and looked up at the top of the CN tower, it looked as if it was drooping over. I began to get dizzy and thought we better get back to Marilyn’s apartment because it was quite a distance aways from us now.
After finding another bench beside a bank, we smoked a joint and rested some more. The further we walked the seedier the buildings became, some ugly fat hookers walked by then some gangsta type complete with pager and gold chains. I looked across the street and saw a grungy head banger smoking crack in a glass tube pipe. After a long long walk, we made it to Marilyn’s house and she was still awake. We puffed another and Marilyn couldn’t believe that we walked all that way through such rough neighborhoods at night. She lives there and knew better I guess. Clem and Mott showed up, Clem had a bad trip on the shrooms at the concert, he thought that he had pissed himself. He was also scared of all the punks even though he was like the size of a friggin’ football player, or maybe he was having a bad reaction to the cowboy boots that he was wearing. They had gone out to a couple bars after the show and Mott met some guy that said he was the manager of the Forgotten Rebels but he could have been bullshitting. Mott convinced Bill to eat more shrooms with him, but now it was like 2 am. Marilyn went to bed as she had to work in the morning, I was half dead by then and decided to turn in and so did Clem. Mott and Bill wandered the streets for a few more hours.
I awoke to Marilyn opening the windows wearing some sexy nightie. We left shortly after getting up, I had a few aches and pains but it was well worth it. I had seen the Sex Pistols and had a strange and interesting journey on the streets of TO. As an even better bonus my boss must have forgotten that I had been away for 2 days and when I got my pay I had been paid for my holiday. I had pulled a rock’n’roll swindle only rivaled by the Sex Pistols themselves.