At Bill Grundy Today show 1976
The first SEX PISTOLS public appearance, at the Today show on BBC, 1. December 1976, was a most significant one. Not only for the band and their short lived success, but for the entire history of punk.
The hype of 1977, could never have happened without this 2 minute outrage, live on national television, or the other key event in the media blitz around the PISTOLS, the Jubilee Boat Trip in 1977, though that is material for another post(soon to come). The video(see below) should speak well for itself. The public reactions were overwhelming, a truck driver even kicked in his brand new TV set in a spontaneous response to the inappropriate vocabulary he was exposed to in the middle of his dinner:“I don t want this filthy language in my own living room”, the truck driver later told the press.
Bill Grundy, the host of the show and target for the verbal assault of Steve Jones, did never again host a show on BBC or fully recover in the public eye. This was the first time the term punk was used in British mass media, which spun off yet another story, an interview with “Siouxsie – a punk shocker”, which kept the debate kind of hot until the next and much bigger media stunt came around.
SEX PISTOLS (seated l-r): Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook. "BROMLEY CONTIGENT” (standing behind l-r): Simon Barker, Steve Severin, 'Simone' and Siouxsie Sioux. [“Bromley Contigent” was the ever present group of diehard followers of PISTOLS, counting among others Billy Idol, Sue Catwoman, Jordan and more in addition to those already mentioned above.] The last person, to the far right, is "the fucking rotter", host Bill Grundy.
GRUNDY: (To camera) They are punk rockers. The new craze, they tell me. Their heroes? Not the nice, clean Rolling Stones... you see they are as drunk as I am... they are clean by comparison. They're a group called the Sex Pistols, and I am surrounded by all of them...
JONES: (Reading the autocue) In action!
GRUNDY: Just let us see the Sex Pistols in action. Come on kids...
[ Film of the Sex Pistols live is shown. Then the camera returns to Grundy.]
GRUNDY: I am told that that group (hits his knee with sheaf of papers) have received forty thousand pounds from a record company. Doesn't that seem, er, to be slightly opposed to their anti-materialistic view of life?
MATLOCK: No, the more the merrier.
[The band and the group of fans stood behind begin waving arms around, and passing cups of coffee back and forth)
MATLOCK: Oh yeah.
GRUNDY: Well tell me more then.
JONES: We've fuckin' spent it, ain't we?
GRUNDY: I don't know, have you?
MATLOCK: Yeah, it's all gone.
MATLOCK: Down the boozer.
GRUNDY: Really? Good Lord! Now I want to know one thing...
GRUNDY: Are you serious or are you just making me, trying to make me laugh?
MATLOCK: No, it's all gone. Gone.
GRUNDY: No, but I mean about what you're doing.
MATLOCK: Oh yeah.
GRUNDY: You are serious?
GRUNDY: Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Brahms have all died...
ROTTEN: They're all heroes of ours, ain't they?
GRUNDY: Really... what? What were you saying, sir?
ROTTEN: They're wonderful people.
GRUNDY: Are they?
ROTTEN: Oh yes! They really turn us on.
JONES: But they're dead!
GRUNDY: Well suppose they turn other people on?
ROTTEN: (Under his breath) That's just their tough shit.
GRUNDY: It's what?
ROTTEN: Nothing. A rude word. Next question.
GRUNDY: No, no, what was the rude word?
GRUNDY: Was it really? Good heavens, you frighten me to death.
ROTTEN : Oh alright, Siegfried...
GRUNDY: (Turning to Siouxsie and friends) What about you girls behind?
MATLOCK: He's like yer dad, inni he, this geezer?
GRUNDY: Are you, er...
MATLOCK: Or your granddad.
GRUNDY: (to Siouxsie Sioux) Are you worried, or are you just enjoying yourself?
SIOUXSIE: Enjoying myself.
GRUNDY: Are you?
GRUNDY: Ah, that's what I thought you were doing.
SIOUXSIE: I always wanted to meet you.
GRUNDY: Did you really?
GRUNDY: We'll meet afterwards, shall we? (Sioux does a camp pout)
JONES: You dirty sod. You dirty old man!
GRUNDY: Well keep going, chief, keep going. Go on, you've got another five seconds. Say something outrageous.
JONES: You dirty bastard!
GRUNDY: Go on, again.
JONES: You dirty fucker! (Laughter from the group)
GRUNDY: What a clever boy!
JONES: What a fucking rotter.
GRUNDY: Well, that's it for tonight. The other rocker Eamonn, and I'm saying nothing else about him, will be back tomorrow. I'll be seeing you soon, I hope I'm not seeing you [the band] again. From me, though, goodnight.
[ The signature tune plays and the credits start. Rotten looks at his watch, Jones stands up and starts to gyrate in time to the music. Grundy yells an off-mic 'Oh shit!' to himself ]