If you google punk wedding 1980, you’ll see some fantastic Daily Mirror images of Alison Wyn-de-Bank’s wedding to David Bancroft. Alison was the singer in anarcho-punk band Ethnic Minority at the time. She agreed to answer a few punkgirldiaries questions.
How did you first get into punk?
Music was a big thing in our house; we all listened to music including my parents. I shared a bedroom with my sister who left her stereo with me when she left home – result! She had a flat with her husband that I used to visit a lot from around ’75. They listened to a lot of great music and I remember first hearing the Sex Pistols at her house.
What was the first record you bought?
T-Rex – Jeepster, in the early 70’s. First punk single was Anarchy in the UK. I was smitten!
What was your look?
Originally I started out just wearing a safety pin to school. I then cut my hair short and used henna to make it bright red orange colour. I didn’t have access to other hair dyes at that time. I wore 40’s women’s jackets and home made trousers and tops with zips in them.
I got a pair of new fluorescent trousers that my dad was issued from work and took them in and added zips and made them smaller to fit me. He vowed that if he found them he would burn them because he hated me having them, I came home one day and he had put them on a bonfire in the garden, I loved those trousers.
Later on I started to have more spiky coloured hair; at first bleaching it and using food colour to dye it. I didn’t have the money to go to London and buy Crazy Colour (pinkissimo was my fav). I then got into having a mohican dyed lots of different colours.
I discovered from friends that if we went down to London and hung about on the Kings Road, tourists would give you money to take your photograph. I could get enough money to buy a t-shirt, hair dye and get into a gig. A great day out.
Where did you live? Was it a small town punk scene?
I grew up in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire (now Milton Keynes). It was a very small town punk scene. There was a small record shop in Bletchley town that was pretty good though. They would get in quite a few good records and I could order in anything that I wanted. They still had the booths where you could listen to songs before you bought them, I used to listen to a lot of records in there, but didn’t have the dosh to buy very many.
As time went by more people became punks and we started to get a good scene going.
Can you tell us about your punk wedding and the Daily Mirror photos?
I met Dave in 1980 at one of my band practices. He was living in a squat on one of the new estates in MK. I moved in with him. After a short while we were evicted from the squat and moved to Dave’s Dads house in Wolverton; he was away in Canada so we had the place to ourselves. We wanted a flat so went to the council, we put our name down and we would call them every day to ask where we were in the queue. One time they told us that there was no point trying to get a place from them as we were not married and married people got priority. We decided then and there that we would get married straightaway. We had only been together at this point for around 5 weeks. Dave’s Dad paid for the registry office and we got married. After a couple of more months we were given a flat.
The evening before the wedding us girls got together for a hen night; the blokes were meeting at The Craufurd Arms in Wolverton where we used to go to gigs (still a music pub these days).
At the hen night one of my mates said how she couldn’t believe I was getting married the following day. A guy standing next to us overheard us chatting and said he was a photographer and did I mind him coming along to take some photographs? I said I didn’t mind. I didn’t know that he was a Daily Mirror photographer till later on. They were the photographs that were in the national papers. Once it had been in the nationals there was a lot of follow up from the local papers as well. Weird experience all round.
Has being involved with punk had a long-term effect on your life?
Yes I think it has. Later on, early 80’s I was into Crass, Flux of Pink Indians, Dead Kennedys etc. and this brought with it more of an understanding of the ideology that went along with that. I still hold those values today and it is where I set my moral compass.
I am an old lady these days and I find my outlook and clothing is still in many ways influenced by my punk days.
Many thanks Alison!