It has been announced that video footage of Sex Pistols performing two sets at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester has sold for £15,000 at a recent auction. The two concerts are pivotal moments in the history of British music, with numerous members of the crowd going on to form their own era-defining bands.
The small audience included future Joy Division members Peter Hook, Ian Curtis and Bernard Sumner, as well as The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, Tony Wilson of Factory Records, and Buzzcocks members Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto, and Steve Diggle.
A 17-year-old Morrisey also saw Sex Pistols’ performance and would go on to write an enthusiastic review of it, in which he said: “I’d love to see the Pistols make it. Maybe then they will be able to afford some clothes which don’t look as though they’ve been slept in.”
Fast forward a few decades and the footage of that night has been sold by auction house Omega Auctions to music fan Mark Roberts for a distinctly un-punk sum of £15,000. In a broadcast, a spokesperson for the BBC said that the 8mm Super 8 film is the “only known footage of the gigs”, going on to assert that the “historic nature” of the footage is “indisputable”.
One of Omega’s auctioneers, Paul Fairweather described the importance of the concert and the historical significance of the film, describing the Pistols’ performance as “huge for bands that spawned off the back off them. It was the birth of punk.”
News of the auction comes just weeks after John Lydon revealed that he is experiencing severe financial troubles after losing a legal battle against some of his former Sex Pistols bandmates. The Pistol’s frontman was sued last month after he refused to grant Danny Boyle the rights to the Sex Pistols’ catalogue for the forthcoming biopic series, Pistol.