The Buzzcocks release their debut self financed 4-track EP 'Spiral Scratch' today on their
own New Hormones label. It features 'Breakdown', 'Times Up', 'Boredom' and  'Friends Of
Mine'. All Devoto/Shelley compositions.
Recorded at Indigo Studios Manchester on the 28th December 1976, at a cost of £500
pound, which half was borrowed off Pete Shelley's Dad who was present in the studio "to
make sure we didn't mess about!". It went onto to sell 16,000 copies before being deleted in
the Summer of '77 when the band got a major label deal. The single is often credited as the
first true independent punk record. The modest picture sleeve features a Polaroid shot of the
band taken at the Robert Peel statue in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens.  It is rumoured that
the very first few copies came with an insert(?).
...SATURDAY JANUARY 29TH 1977
Penetration only 4 gigs old
impressed
Generation X enough
after last weeks support slot in
Middlesboro, to make their
London debut at
The Roxy
tonight in the same supporting
role.
Birthday of Tommy
Ramone (Tom Erdelyi) of
The Ramones in
Budapest, Hungary 1949
This weeks edition of British music weekly New Musical Express
features a damning
Generation X interview in which hip young
gunslinger scribe
Tony Parsons took a distinct disliking to 'em.
Little did he know that the tee-total
Billy Idol and Tony James
were both suffering from such a rock'n'roll excess of the clap
hence no alcohol!!!
Also in this issue is a hippy looking
Tom Robinson who gets a
profile from
Julie Birchill. As a footnote there also was a story on
Pete Townsend of The Who who was spotted drinking with a
couple of
Sex Pistols down the Speakeasy.
The Runaways release their second album on
Mercury Records today. It's called 'Queens Of
Noise' and gets an hatchet job in the
New
Musical Express
from Mick Farren.
But check out 'Hollywood' one of the better
tracks.
Howard Devoto says what comes to his mind
Pauline Murray of Penetration hits the Roxy (DC Collection)
The Runaways 'Queens Of Noise' get ruffled
play the Nashville, London
tonight
Today's other British music weekly Sounds profiles
Rough Trade Records which has been in trade
for just over a year and caters for the new
alternative music scene and would later become
one of the leading UK independent record labels
during the next decade.
The Jam's first demo session at
Polydor is cancelled due to the IRA
bomb in Oxford Street, London.
JANUARY
FEBRUARY
MARCH
APRIL
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUGUST
SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
DECEMBER
PUNK ROCKER
Buzzcocks 'Spiral Scratch' 45 (New Hormones) the birth of DIY punk
'The Clash's coach driver
was a Norman, and they'd
all sing, "Noo-orman,
Noo-orman."
I knew that 'Boredom' was
registering with people on
some fundamental level."
- Howard Devoto, 2001
Devoto left the band on
the eve of the record's
release, saying...





"I get bored very easily,
and that boredom can act
as a catalyst for me to
suddenly conceive and
execute a new vocation."
He added that "punk rock
had already become
restrictive and
stereotyped". -
Howard Devoto 1977
Ramones - Tommy Ramones birthday
Pete Townsend, Paul Cook and Steve Jones havin a drink
Berlin Brats
Van Halen
Orange
Whiskey , LA  $4.00
JANUARY
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22
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29
30 31
JANUARY
FEBRUARY
MARCH
APRIL
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUGUST
SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
DECEMBER
PUNK ROCKER
JANUARY
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BUZZCOCKS
Spiral Scratch (New Hormones)
'Spiral Scratch', the one (legitimate)
surviving example of
Buzzcocks under
the joint guidance of Pete Shelley and
Howard Devoto, stands up well, if pale
and scratched both as a hastily
scribbled blueprint for the two different
directions Shelley and Devoto were to
take and as a pre-emptive foray into
the treatment of the sheer frustrations
of affection between people which
moderne pop has now come to accept
and rationalise.
What Devoto was singing about on the
four scrappy little songs recorded in a
beat-the-studio-clock rush at the very
end of 1976 was a view of love as a
source of boredom, resentment,
release, very occasional relief: no
great revelation, maybe. But the way it
was put over in Devoto's own sickly
snarl, in Shelley's strangely spangled
chords 'starway guitar' as the credit
had it), in 16-year-old John Maher's
impetuous and irritating drum rolls
linked it with the punky clamour that
Buzzcocks almost accidentally found
themselves caught up in and
whispered of a revitalisation of the
eternal concern of pop music.
'Boredom' and 'Breakdown' titles
entrenched in the spirit of '76 coursed
across emotional battlegrounds with
the same charged fervour that 'the
punks' were employing to (mostly) far
less coherent ends. The grey Polaroid
on the cover spoke as eloquently as
the noise: Devoto diffident and faintly
smug, Maher blankly youthful, Steve
Diggle (then playing bass) distantly
tough, Shelley furtive but inquiring.
RICHARD COOK (June 1982)
Mick Farren NME November 29th 1977