Young Flesh Required

Extract Two

On Friday 3rd September, the Sex Pistols flew to Paris to play the opening night at the Club de Chalet du Lac, a trendy new discothèque in the city’s upmarket Bois de Vincennes. Malcolm had come up with the idea to compensate for the band having missed out on appearing at the inaugural ‘European Punk Rock Festival’ on 21st August. Their omission from the event, which was staged in a bullring at Mont de Marsan near Bordeaux in southern France, was due to their fallout with the festival’s headliners Eddie And The Hot Rods at the Marquee back in February, and also of being guilty by association following Sid’s assault on Nick Kent at the 100 Club at the end of June. The event’s promoter, and founder of French indie label Skydog Records, Marc Zermati, would come to rue his decision to veto the Sex Pistols, as the Mont de Marsan bullring could hold an estimated 5000 people, yet a mere 250 or so bemused locals turned out for the entertainment.

The Clash, who’d also been invited onto the bill, had pulled out of the festival in a show of solidarity towards the Pistols. The Damned, however, had felt no such compunction, and stood in bleary-eyed line beside the Hot Rods, the Gorillas, Nick Lowe, Roogalator and the Pink Fairies at Victoria Coach Station, awaiting the bus to ferry them to Dover. It was during this journey that their bassist Ray Burns received his enduring moniker ‘Captain Sensible’. ‘We was driving down to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais when I started muckin’ about pretending to be the pilot. You know, shoutin’ things like “it’s alright, everything’s under control”. Just havin’ a laugh really,’ the Captain told us backstage one night back in December 2006 following the Damned’s appearance at a punk fest at Nottingham’s Rock City. ‘But cos I was wearing some cheap second-hand shirt that had epaulettes some wag shouted out something like “who the fuck do you think you are, Captain Sensible”?’

‘Well it kinda stuck as at the time everyone was giving themselves silly punk names weren’t they? I thought it was a laugh at the time and maybe, I dunno, cause a bit of confusion down the dole office. But here I am thirty years on and still “The Captain”. You’d think I’d have had a promotion by now, though.’

Back to Extract 1 | Read Extract 3 | See a photo preview