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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > History > Rock 'n' Roll Wiltshire > The Clash at The Affair

Swindon's The Aggravators outside the Wyvern Theatre in 1977

Swindon's The Aggravators in 1977

The Clash at The Affair

Read the story of the Swindon band who supported punk legends The Clash at The Affair nightclub in Swindon in 1977.

In the beginning there was The Clash... and they came to Swindon!

The date was Wednesday 4th May 1977 and it was a momentous occasion, at least in the minds of those that were enamoured with the noise that was punk.

The Clash were coming to town, and just about everyone was talking about it.

At the time I was the vocalist in Swindon punk band The Aggravators, and had been given a support slot by Ian Reid who managed The Affair nightclub at the time, and later went on to manage XTC.

An ad for the gig in the Swindon Evening Advertiser

An ad for the gig in the Evening Advertiser

The Affair later changed hands numerous times, and as a nightclub went through a succession of names such as Bubbles, New York New York and Po Na Na.

My fellow bandmates and I jumped over the moon to be offered the gig. For our tiny band back then it felt like a chance in a lifetime!

The Clash were due to play across the road at a venue called The Central Hall which was a lot bigger than The Affair, with two support bands Subway Sect and ourselves playing first, over in the small nightclub in Wyvern square.

Mysteriously, a short time before we were due to take the stage a fire started in The Central Hall, leaving Joe Strummer and the rest of the band with no choice other than to move all of their gear across to The Affair in order to be able to play.

When the time finally came, we thrashed through our set with wild abandon, savouring every second of it. As soon as we had finished playing, we hurried backstage to talk to The Clash and ask for their opinion, and Joe commented on one of our songs, by saying that he liked the guitar riff.

They were very encouraging, really down to earth, and totally devoid of any airs and graces.

The Clash

The Clash

Vic Goddard and The Subway Sect ploughed through their set confidently leaving the crowd calling for more, then at last it was time for The Clash!

By now the place was heaving, and after what felt like an eternity, Joe and the boys took the stage by storm.

Thrashing through their songs that were soon to become classics they left the faithful amongst us spellbound, and the morbidly curious stunned!

Joe Strummer snarling his way through 'Janie Jones' is something I'll never forget, and the compliment of Joe dedicating 'Garageland' to us spoke volumes.

He even improvised a few lyrics - introducing 'London's Burning' as 'Swindon's Burning' and changing a line in 'Police and Thieves' to "Walking down Swindon High Street…"

The Clash, were in my mind, the embodiment of Punk rock, and are probably the definitive band of their kind in that era. And even though I state the obvious - Joe Strummer is still very sorely missed.

last updated: 25/02/2009 at 10:17
created: 06/02/2009

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Chris Wren
A garage band from a garage town!!

You are in: Wiltshire > History > Rock 'n' Roll Wiltshire > The Clash at The Affair

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