Sex Pistols on Christmas Day

Implausible as it may seem, on Christmas Day 1977, the Sex Pistols played their last ever UK show at Ivanhoes in Huddersfield. The event itself was a benefit for the families of striking miners and firefighters. The Pistols played two sets, one in the afternoon for children and an adult show in the evening. For the matinee show, they went onstage at 3pm, the same time as the annual Queen’s speech.

Filmed by Julien Temple on a U-Matic low band camera, John handed out T-shirts, badges and cake, and Sid apparently took to the dance floor with the pre-teens strutting their pre-gig stuff to Boney M and Baccara.


“One of my all-time favourite gigs. Young kids, and we’re doing Bodies and they’re bursting out with laughter on the ‘f*ck this f*ck that’ verse. The correct response: not the shock horror ‘How dare you?’ Adults bring their own filthy minds into a thing. They don’t quite perceive it as a child does. Oh, Johnny’s used a naughty word. Bodies was from two different points of view. You’ll find that theme runs through a lot of things I write like Rise – “I could be wrong, I could be right”. I’m considering both sides of the argument, always. – John Lydon

rexfeatures_581295ax-782x1024-1Fan, Jez Scot who was 16 at the time, recalled the event to Dave Simpson in The Guardian

“I got a yellow skateboard with pink wheels – like the Never Mind the Bollocks album cover – by winning the pogoing competition. The gig itself was great, very exciting. I remember they played Bodies, but omitted the swear words because of the children.”

By December 1977 the Sex Pistols were banned from peforming at most venues in the country, and the striking firefighters were struggling with an unsupportive Labour government. Almost surreal then that the UK’s most feared and hated band, who found it difficult to find a stage anywhere, should spend Christmas bringing some genuine cheer and goodwill to a working class community who were also struggling with the authorities, feeding everyone with cake and dirty rock and roll.


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