1 • 100 Nights at the Roxy 1st Pub 1978 Big O Publishing Ltd – reprinted 2016 Carrczez Publishing Ltd. 96 pages : B&W photography throughout with 8 page colour section.
The Roxy, situated at 41-43 Neal Street Covent Garden was London’s most famous Punk club and ran from December 1976-April 1977. It was situated in a converted warehouse off Covent Garden market, that had been used by the vegetable market. It had a bar upstairs and stage in the basement. Every punk band of any worth (and many that weren’t) performed here. A memorial plaque was unveiled on 25th April 2017 to mark forty years since closing.
Although the book documents several shows performed at the venue, in chronological order, it doesn’t solely concentrate on band shots and the book’s strength is the audience documentation. Often many of the key punk performers also appear in both on stage & off. Although The Sex Pistols’ rehearsal was only across the street on Denmark Street, they didn’t perform at the club but members feature in the book hanging out.
While essentially a Derek Ridgers’ photo book, the other main contributor is Humphrey Murray, with additional material from Richard Braine, Crystal Clear, Steven Davis, Peter Kodiak and Ralf Jedraszczyk.
The book was originally published in 1978 by Big. O, a company better remembered for printing posters in the late sixties. The glued (“perfect binding”) hasn’t help preserve this title for posterity, in order to see the many of double page spreads the book had to by fully opened, causing the pages to come loose, add another 40+ years and the glue has dried and cracked, making complete copies, without loose or re-glued pages rare and expensive collector’s items.
For the reprint the original club owner’s Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington sensibly produced a (slightly larger) near facsimile of the original, and avoided the temptation of adding extra material and instead produced a second book The Roxy : Our Story London 1976-77 The Club That Forged Punk for their recollections. The new book combines interview snippets, extracts from old diaries, supported by reproductions of press clippings, rare photos and ephemera.
Both the reprint (600 copies) and the new book were self-published by the former club owners as CARRCZEZ ltd in 2016. While the original edition is credited to ADVERTS manager Michael Dempsey, any mention of his involvement is removed. The Bible, The Sniffin’ Glue compendium, also published by Big O in 1978, was also credited to him. Since neither carry any text by him, (the latter being a reprint of Mark Perry’s fanzine) he must have been erroneously credited as author for commissioning the titles. Sadly, he died in 1981, apparently after falling a flight of stairs while changing a lightbulb.
Prior to the reprint, complete copies were easily fetching £450-£600. Being a key collector’s item as both a photo book (featured in Martin Parr’s The Photo Book) & as a key punk collectors’ item – the original has continued to hold its value. At the time of writing there were over priced copies listed on all the usual sites for over £1000.00. Even Oxfam-online sold one with pages detached for £700.00. POPT’s copies are priced according to condition : usually a handled copy, with no loosed pages fetches £250 and up, while a fine/ near mint copy £500+.
If you do invest in an original copy be careful when handling it. The glue binding will crack if you attempt to fully open it to see the full double page spreads. They are fragile ! However, there’s good reason why this book, along with Salvador Costa’s ‘Punk‘ and Not Another Punk Book! are considered the best documents of the era : it marries candid shoots of all the main bands protagonists with reportage/ street fashion photography/ of all the poseurs in the audience. London’s streets are so boring now.
All original copies sold by POPT have been carefully described & checked at point of sale -returns cannot be accepted. As you can see below Andrew & Susie were nice enough to drop by the shop after the Roxy Club plaque unveiling in May 2017 and signed copies for the shop.
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