This essay is very good - I should definitely read the memoirs it talks about, by Richard Hell and Patti Smith (the latter first, probably).
Fascinating contemporary Radiators review, as much for what it says about punk generally as about the band (neither necessarily accurate, of course):
“12/01/1978 Trinity College, Dublin with The Vipers.
If an alien happened upon a punk gig as his first experience of the human species, he might be temped to jump back in his interplanetary craft and F.O. in his U.F.O.
On the other hand, the alien might see spitting as an involuntary spasm of the salivary function, have a hearing facility to unscramble the muddy sound and best of all a decoding device to understand the lyrics in a welter of noice.
At The Radiators From Space gig in the JCR of Trinity College last week. I felt like an alien without those vital extra senses. Mind you, it’s not the Radiators fault. I’m too old for punk, because I can’t relate emotionally or even instinctively. I honestly believe the Radiators write good lyrics, but what is the point in writting an angry song, if no one can hear the words to know what you are angry about.
I told you I was too old.
Anyway, I went to see the Radiators because in my crystal ball gazing for 1978, I queried the staying power of the Radiators and their lack of a definite charismatic image. An angry Philip Chevron demanded that I go to the gig. I did.
I can’t knock the music. It is melodic and I heard it all in my time at a slightly slower pace. A random selection of four veterans would produce a tighter sound than the Radiators, but no amount of persuasion would induce the kids to like them. Punk is obviously not about being angry at all. It’s about being young.
The Radiators are relying on Chevron and Pete Holidai to transcend the footlights and evoke the reaction from the crowd. Holidai is smugly menacing and Chevron is almost endearing. Maybe if he wore a leprechaun suit, he could capitalise on an impish presence. In the role of heretic and rabble rouser, he lacks the brash arrogance of Geldof. I don’t doubt for a moment that Philip is as arrogant as Geldof, but that pose is now imitative and dull. So is looking menacing.
How the hell would I know anyway? The kids seem to like the Radiators. I want to listen to their records and decipher the messages. If they find their own special wrinkle which will distinguish them from the rest, they have the songs and the music. I love the punk movement for inspiring kids to form bands. The Radiators are an example of the good by product.”
- Shay Healy, Starlight Magazine (via)
According to his Wikipedia page, Shay Healy was born in 1943, so around 35 was “too old” for punk in 1978. I cut out the more technical part of the review, since another 35 years later we don’t really need to hear about the vocal mix or their new songs, but click through on the link if you want to see.
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, ‘Diminished Expectations’, 483
[edit: Eurovision was first broadcast in 1956, not 1970]