It’s easy to forget how painstaking it was to capture the moment before the world went digital. Having bought your film from Boots or wherever you had to wind the bastard onto the ratchets within the camera, fuck around with a light meter before focusing upon your subject. Only weeks later, when the film turned up processed, either through the post or handed over with a sniff and a smile by a pimply youth at Jessops did you realise that you had left the bloody cap on the lens. And Julian from Jessops still took your money anyway. Ker-ching.
Thank God for the Kodak instamatic. The winding, ratchety, focusing bit went by the wayside and instead you just aimed that little box at the stage and clicked. It didn’t look professional but what did I care, I had a fanzine to fill up.
At the Roxy, London’s punk central, you couldn’t swing a cat without sideswiping Jill Furmanovsky’s tripod but in the provinces, cameras were for weddings and day trips to Weymouth. But I knew that if Bristol’s first punk fanzine was going to sell at all, even at the knock down price of three bob, it would need a photo or two juxtaposed with the swearing and the ubiquitous rant against students, usually of the ‘art’ variety.
Steve Swan had a proper camera and access to a dark room somewhere in the clan’s Cornwallis Crescent base from where he produced snaps of enviable quality, which I was not above begging, stealing or borrowing, though without the stealing bit I hasten to add. But my self inflicted deadlines were erratic to say the least so I blew the dust off the family instamatic and proceeded to shoot my fan’s view pictures of The Clash, The Subway Sect and, ahem, Wayne County. For some inexplicable reason I probably have more photos of Billy Idol than his mum and dad possess to this day.
I did go SLR towards the end of Loaded’s short life, buying a second hand camera from the Bristol Camera Exchange for thirty quid. I used this as the punk focus shifted from the Barton Hill Youth Club to the Bristol Exhibition Centre where I shot Richard Hell, Elvis Costello and, possibly, the sheriff, though I did not kill the deputy.
At the Exhibition Centre I spent an intoxicated day with the great Lester Bangs who was covering the Clash tour. Now that boy could write but could he elbow his way to the edge of the stage through the leather and plastic clad, cider swilling masses to get the little square pictures featured here? I rest my case.
TIM WILLIAMS – March 2010
Richard Hell and The Void Oids
The Adverts Bristol 1977
The Cortinas » The Cortinas Page
The Media » The Media Page
The Pigs » The Pigs Page
The Pop Group » The Pop Group
The Primates » The Primates
Vic Goddard and Subway
Wilko Johnson Bamboo Club
Wreckless Eric, The Stiff Tour Bristol 1977