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Hill Street Blues

Stuart Bailie | 23:28 UK time, Tuesday, 30 June 2009

It was the summer of 1979, as I recall. The night that my band, the absurdly-titled Acme Music made their debut at the Harp Bar on Belfast's Hill Street. We had rocked the youth club circuit and a few church halls. I think we had already featured at Clonduff Community Centre where they paid for your talent in cider bottles. But the Harp Bar was the big deal. It was where the grandees of punk lived. It was also a temendously snobby joint and if you hadn't been in the first few skirmishes of the punk wars, you were considered a vulgar intruder. Which wasn't very punk rock at all...

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So we gave it our best and a few people clapped, perhaps ironically. Many of our fans had been too scared to turn up, such was the Harp's reputation. But we negotiated the stripper on the stairway and hauled a pitiful PA system up there with us. We may have played a Ramones song and we didn't look too concerned when a stray beer glass went whistling though the air. That's my pal Alan Giddings on guitar - the Mick Jones to my Joe Strummer delusion. In the background is drummer Ian Hanna. He was a pet food merchandiser, and so we travelled in style, supine on boxes of Biffo dog food. We smelt of offal, gelatine and unquenchable teen spirit.

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