In the world of DIY TV, Efrom Allen was one of broadcasting’s true pioneers. On his late night, 1970s, Manhattan cable show, Efrom welcomed the more unconventional guests; the pornstars, the poseurs and of course the Punks.
Despite his geography teacher looks, Efrom was a black belt in boldness. He was polite, engaging, apparently unflappable and more than capable of holding onto proceedings, even with the most chaotic of guests. In his lo-fi studio, and broadcasting only in black and white, he would interview his guests, and then take completely uncensored calls from the viewers, live on air. Not much recorded footage remains, but luckily one of the most extraordinary pieces of television ever made, does still exist. On the 18th September 1978, Efrom welcomed a panel of “Punks” to answer questions and take calls, and these ambassadors of the punk world just happened to be the Chelsea Hotel’s most famous current residents; Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, Dead Boy Stiv Bators and B-Girls Cynthia Ross. Less than a month later, Nancy would be dead.
Sid and Nancy do not disappoint, together they are the PR machine from Hell. First they slate American audiences for not dancing, call the first caller a “jerk off”, and sneer at a question about what punk rock is for, “you can’t dance to Beethoven can you?” They are the PR machine from Hell, precisely because they are being themselves. There is no script, no personna to project, they don’t care if you buy their records or not, and what you see is what you get. You were never going to get this on the BBC.