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Time's Up Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley wrote the songs of your life

Time's Up

Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley wrote the songs of your life

by Ancient Champion, Columnist
first published: December, 2018

approximate reading time: minutes

Buzzcocks were the first band I ever saw. Way back when obvs., when it was still possible to break into gigs by simply rushing the door

Let start with some music.

Tracey Thorn tweeted a cool chunk of a Pete Shelley pop lyric... "But after all life's only death's recompense."

Buzzcocks were the first band I ever saw. Way back when obvs., when it was still possible to break into gigs by simply rushing the door while the bounders, I mean bouncers, but my phone's predictive text hasn't gotten any better in all the year we've been together, while the bouncers were distracted by their running to block/assault another bunch of young punk kids taking aim at another auditorium door. Is a fortunate thing since I don't think I had the ticket money in my pocket for a punk gig at a theatre in coventry. I barely had the bus fare to get there.

Buzzcocks were the stars of an album I used to listen to all the time, Live At The Roxy... And then there's their Spiral Scratch ep which I can't even remember whether I ever even owned it or just always wanted to own it.

I loved Buzzcocks, because well, what was there to love but the melody, and lyrically maybe they were the last band to put humor onto the charts without us needing to laugh at them. Come on! Oh Shit; Orgasm Addict; Ever Fallen in Love With Someone You Shouldn't Have Fallen in Love With, so many more... And after all that Pete Shelley let's not forget was a Homosapien too.

Sooner or later, you're gonna listen to Ralph Nader
I don't wanna cause a fuss, but fast cars are so dangerous
Fast cars, fast cars
Fast cars, I hate fast cars

I saw them again 30 years later, took the drive down PCH and along Beach Blvd and a bit of the 91 to the House of Blues in Anaheim, on the Disney lot down there. It's a fairly artificial construct. An entertainment town center. Buzzcocks were signed to Superchunk's label then, I think, name escapes me, oh Merge, that's it... and a pal Charlotte made a guestlist spot happen, maybe a booth with a view too. The Buzzcocks were working men then. 

So... thinking about the amount of entertainment, and everything else Pete Shelley gave working people for 40 years and what, I never even bought a ticket. I'm feeling pretty bad about that right now that there's now way to apologize.

Ancient Champion

Ancient Champion writes for OUTSIDELEFT while relentlessly recording and releasing instrumental easy listening music for difficult people. The Champ is working on Public Transport, a new short story collection that takes up where 2021's Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere (Disco City Books) left off. It should be ready in time for the summer holidays. More info at

about Ancient Champion »»



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