Running Time: 79 minutes
Released 30th June 2008
Back in '77 Don Letts the Rasta DJ at London's only Punk club, the Roxy was going
round town when he wasn't spinning dub discs, filming the new phenomenon called
Punk on his newly acquired Super 8 hand held camera. Having just been given a
camera by his friend Caroline Baker, Don decided to press the trigger on a shoot to
kill basic after barely reading the instructions. Don shot all the punk action he could
witness as artistic expression. Like the music he was capturing, he was new at this
latest art form and like the sounds, it certainly captures the grubby surroundings and
almost prehistoric ambiance. The colour is lurid with splashes of pink 'n' greens
blurring across our screen. And what it don't make up for in technical quality, it
certainly does in archiving a scene and scenesters at play on and off stage.

The live footage although important and shouldn't be missed, isn't always what you remember most in this
film, but is essential viewing as a diabolical
Slits rehearse for the 'White Riot' tour. Slaughter And The
crank it up during a cloud of talcum powder. The Clash are hip and stoned on the White Riot tour
bus and
the Heartbreakers seem way too exotic to be playing the Roxy. Pity we didn't get no Stranglers
or Damned coz alongside Siouxsie who looks very young and in good shape as she pops the pills, most of
the UK punk icons are immortalised on here. John Rottens voice during a vintage Screen on the Green gig
is hilarious, he sounds like hes been sucking in helium as he berates the hippy audience and tells
em all to
"sit down". The punk godfathers and grandmothers are all so young in this film, its like
witnessing some ancient artifact that has been recovered from the bowls of the 20th century
London. And put alongside today's mega pixel breed of memory hunting punksters it can get pretty
ropey to view at times. Especially the dissapointing dark
X-Ray Spex footage. However this film
does capture the original essence of Punk perfectly and with not a Mohican in sight!  

The real stars of the footage however has to be the lesser known acts such as
Eater frantically
chopping up a pigs head during "No Brains".
Generation X looking very polished and pin up on
stage and in the dressing room at the Vortex. While
Wayne County chews gum, sweats and pouts
during an hilarious version of "Cream In My Jeans". Innevitably  Wayne can't resist putting his head
in the bass drum. Its also funny watching an out his depth Mark P. of
Alternative TV being taught
the fundamentals of Dub in a recording studio by his producer.

Don the
"number one nigger ligger" round town definitely had exclusive access that the TV
cameras of the day never got to see. Mainly due to his supply of weed to the new Punk
intelligentsia, so trust was assured. Sid Vicious is caught building a joint down the Roxy as kids
mutilate themselves with razorblades. We see the cadaver punkettes drool at the stage edge
adorned with swastikas. We even get Keith Levene (ex-
Clash future PIL guitarist) fixing up in the
Roxy toilets. From the squalor we get the much loved Shane McGowan footage jumping around
which always brings a smile your face, as does Soo Catwoman who goes all shy and coy on us as
she spells out her musical tastes, while Jordan glares. What is noticeable is the sound has been
overdubbed on some of the live sequences. I personally have no problems with the overdubs, but
it could destroy the original ambiance for all the die hard collectors out there. And obviously
actually needed an overdub, but were deemed so bad they are actually left intact! The story
behind this film is full of twists and turns itself. The original raw version of this film was shown at
Londons ICA cinema for 6 weeks by public demand in 1977. And when the finished cut was
eventually shown to cinemas in New York and LA for a week in late 1977 it was destined to be a
cult hit. That was until a certain Malcolm McLaren who was by then embroiled in his 'Swindle' flick
bought in a injunction on the film which left Letts and producer Peter Clifton's movie hanging out on
a limb for a very long time till it eventually came out on video years later.
With hindsight this wide screen DVD release is probably the first real footage of the UK punk scene
and if your a fan you'll love the grainy decadence, but now when were so used to pristine film
footage it isn't something you could watch again and again.
Although that rawness of the footage does make for some
great moments never to be revisited ever again.  

This spontaneous, eclectic mix of punk closes with John Rotten
in Jamaica whilst on a Reggae scouting mission for Virgin
records. He systematically dismantles and destroys a typewriter
as his Jamaican hostess teases him. And alongside an
interesting authentification quote from Mr Rotten recalling his
view of the film in '78 he said ...
"It's a collection of people
that i know personally having fun and doing their stage bits
and just ligging around being themselves. Its essential
viewing, it shows that these people weren't animals...but
very close to it"

The extra footage tagged on at the end is a PIL era 1983
interview conducted by producer Peter Clifton with John Rotten
on his first tour of Australia which is a very amusing in itself as
he dodges the flys and the more intrusive questions. But has
no real relevance to the main feature. Surly we could've had
more footage of Wayne County or Eater to entertain us?      


Don Letts & Peter Clifton watch their out on a limb movie - July 78 (DC Collection)
Billy Idol of Generation X whips up a frenzy (DC Collection)