from Ian Maslin.....................Michael Sobell Sports Centre

Michael Sobell sports centre 12th December 1981 I was 15 years old and my older brother had bought me a ticket to see The Jam at the Michael Sobell Sports Centre, as a present. Dad let me go to a gig for the first time, so I bought a new pair of stay pressed trousers, and a pair of Hush Puppy's, I rounded it off with my treasured Ben Sherman and leather box jacket, I was the face.

It been snowing for a few days and the pavements and roads were slippery and slushy. As we came out of Highbury underground, and headed south past the Rainbow, the scene of so many fantastic Jam gig's, we could see people starting to gather outside. We looked up at the billboard to see that a group called The Exploited were playing that night. From what I can remember were a punk/thrash type band.

Suddenly we heard shouting and realised it was in our direction, there were about 15 punks/skinheads who were running towards us, there were only a few of us so we had to get away from there fast. We sprinted towards the sports centre, and I was slipping all over the place in my new pup's, but luckily I stayed on my feet long enough to make it round the last corner near the Jam gig. There, waiting outside were a group of about 200 of Mods, Jam fans, and I felt a sense of pure relief, we were home, back where we belonged. We were part of this crowd we felt like family. It was something about the youth culture around that time and needless to say the group chasing us turned on their tails and retreated pretty quickly.

Once inside it was all standing and the place was packed to the rafters, the whole crowd moving as one. Unluckily a support performance by a young Bananarama was booed all the way through until finally John Weller came onto the stage and announced The BEST FU__ING band in the World, and the rest is history.


Ian Maslin