Burnley and Pendle punk event for those 'Sick of Being Normal'

East Lancashire punk fans
East Lancashire punk fans

Fans of the Burnley and Pendle punk scene of the late 1970s should head to an exhibition and event at Burnley Library next month.

"Sick of Being Normal - Pendle Punk 40 Years On" will explore the long term impact of the punk explosion 40 years ago in East Lancashire and how it affected a generation of thinkers, doers and makers.

East Lancashire punk fans back in the day

East Lancashire punk fans back in the day

Featuring Boff Whalley, formerly of indie group Chumbawamba, renowned photographer Casey Orr and Stephen Hartley, founder member of Notsensibles, the exhibition and event will take place on Saturday, February 8th, from 7pm to 11pm.

Sick of Being Normal, the free publication available on the night, features new photographic portraits of the Pendle area’s Class of 1979 punks taken by award-winning photographer Casey Orr, whose work has been exhibited internationally.

Much of the retrospective literature of punk, written as history by London-centric music journalists, likes to claim that by 1979 punk had burned itself out; what they miss is a nationwide blaze of energy that was ignited from that initial Clash/Pistols spark and took hold in towns and villages across the land.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the Burnley and Pendle area, a gathering place for fanzine-makers, gig organisers, musicians, writers and artists.

By 1979 this ad-hoc, disorganised community had established itself not just as part of the local arts community but as a radical and dissenting voice in the region. Front page headlines in the local press were commonplace and in early 1980, TV presenter Bob Greaves came over from Manchester to make a 30-minute TV documentary about this remarkable regional scene.

That was 40 years ago. To celebrate this anniversary – and to try to calculate punk’s long-term impact on so many people from the region – Mid Pennine Arts will be creating a travelling exhibition, distributing a commemorative publication and hosting an event at Burnley Central Library.

The project, named after a song title by pioneering local punk band Notsensibles, is called Sick of Being Normal and is part of Mid Pennine Arts’ project Pendle Radicals – which explores Pendle Hill’s heritage of radical thinkers and non-conformists.

At the opening event there will be a set from young local grime artist MeLeon, who takes original punk music as inspiration for his words; poet Ruthless; house band Burnley Boppers, who will play a selection of songs local original punk bands; and Screeech Rock, a long-standing, and always shocking, theatrical musical experience.

The party will continue until the early hours at Burnley’s exciting new Creative Arts Bar, St James' Street, with Trash Manor DJs Annie, Peach and Ticker le punk + Moz – 11pm to late.

Tickets (admission to both venues) cost £8 (£10 on the door) available from Astonishing Sounds, Hall Street, Burnley; Burnley Library; Mid Pennine Arts (1 Neptune Sreet, Burnley) and online via Eventbrite - https://bit.ly/2N8aUTJ.