Which you can’t really say about Fast Cars, honestly, because their set is one that is mired in the two-chord thrash of the day without really having the spark and the political or social nous of, say, The Ruts or The Fall, to lay a marker down to what either could have been or would be. They took their name from a Steve Diggle song, and Mick Middles in his liner notes that, and I absolutely get where he’s coming from, as because “Steve Diggle had the unpretentious street edge” compared to fellow Buzzcock Pete Shelley’s “fey art school love lorn edge.” But then Mick wants to present them as a latter-day Eddie and the Hot Rods and I’d agree if it was because they shared the lack of pretensions and the lust for a good time that the Hot Rods sang about but I just don’t hear it coming across in their very stark and underdeveloped work. To me, they sound like just another band trying to work up some street credibility but really just hitting glam or teeny-bop themes and poses but thinking that if they played it super fast and swore like London dockers between and across every song, it somehow made them authentic punk. It didn’t. So, ‘The Kids Just Wanna Dance’, fun in its own way but like the majority of the remainder of their set, stuck in its own time-trap. Except, curiously, for a number called ‘Teenage ‘Art’, containing, apparently, “a verse for the cool guys and a chorus for the nutters”, but a considered, slower, track that had slivers of potential in it for sure. But over all? A bit like a lot of the bands of the day, really one thing but trying to be another. Again though, it’s certainly a set that when you take it in the context of a line-up that would also have encompassed Hillage, or Here & Now, or others of festivals-past, it’s a guide to how the content of the open air festival was developing.
Chris Hewitt Q&A
Sure, but leading on from that, I wondered how the two different audiences interacted in the festival environment?
Very well, really, I think because one common ground that they had of course was reggae, because I think all the hippies and all the punks liked Bob Marley and they liked Misty in Roots, so I think reggae was a common denominator. I think Rock Against Racism was a common denominator for punks and hippies and I also think that where it perhaps differed at Deeply Vale and where it perhaps differed in the North West was that there weren’t enough venues that could substantiate or support a separate scene. So for instance the Electric Circus, you would have The Enid or Motorhead or Stray or Strife on one night and perhaps The Adverts or The Damned or The Sex Pistols or The Buzzcocks on other nights and you’d actually get a crossover of people because people in the north tended to be just more music fans. There were a lot of hippies cut their hair and became punks. I think there was much less of a kids’ thing and more a lot of over-20s actually became new-wavers. In Manchester what you had was the same venues from the very start, the same venues that put on the prog and psyche put on the punk bands and it wasn’t like a whole new scene as it were. So I think there was much more of a crossover in the north than perhaps there was in the south.
That makes perfect sense and certainly in London it was all McLaren’s, and to a lesser extent Bernie Rhodes, agendas I guess, but once you got further out from the epicentre then you can get more of a merging maybe?
Just talk a little bit about yourself as the custodian and the issuer of the Deeply Vale CDs and the documentary DVD [Truly, Madly, Deeply Vale]...
You’ve also done CD releases of various different bands at Deeply Vale, Nik, and Steve Hillage and The Fall and The Ruts and Fast Cars. Were those tapes that you had from your archive, or stuff that you sort out?
Where do you see Deeply Vale in the overall free festival history?