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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Echoes and the Flashers 1977

Causing a riot at Corby Stardust centre was a band modelled on the Sex Pistols; the Flashers were an outfit booked by Arthur Pitcher with support from John Grimley's band The Echoes to cash in on the craze. John; "Myself, Maureen and Jimmy Gourlay, John Dolby and Tommy Chapman were asked by Arthur if we would back this spoof band for a few numbers. We agreed and several rehearsals later they said they would go for it. All was well until the night. The Evening Telegraph had given the show a lot of advertising, more of a send up really, and when we turned up on the night at the club there were about 200 punk rockers outside the building that had been turned away. Now to say they were unhappy is an understatement. The E.T. had done SUCH a good job it was backfiring in Pitchers face. He didn't know what to do, he didn't think it would go that far...but it did. The media had gone over the top with the hype and the build up, and when the band started wrecking things and winding everybody up, Arthur really was in a flap! We did the gig and it was a laugh, if not a tadge frightening at an earlier stage."
The Flashers milked the publicity for all it was worth. The 'exclusive' in the press told; ‘the band, Gary Gutrot, Sergeant Sadistic, Geriatric Punk and the weird singer Punkular are making their debut in Corby later this month, they stopped off in the town at the weekend to see Arthur Pitcher the leisure centre manager who had booked them. Arthur made it clear that any obscenities and expletives on stage would result in a possible ban from appearing at the venue in the future; "I have written to the group’s manager and warned him that I will stop their act outright if they step too far out of line, should I consider any part of their act offensive, no bad language will be acceptable. They really are pretty disgusting specimens but I've heard their music is good and that's why we've booked them."
The feature concluded by stating; 'The group were travelling to London from Manchester where a number of shows were cancelled because of their behaviour and although they have an extensive British tour lined up for early next year it is believed many towns will follow suit and ban them.'
During their performance the Flashers smashed speakers, wrecked chairs and broke glasses - terrifying many of the audience into the bargain. Arthur Pitcher, aided by a barman was forced to haul them off before their act led to a riot. Arthur was far from amused; "They were disgusting. This act was extremely violent and I warn all other clubs against booking them. Corby is just not ready for this sort of thing."
For all the mayhem it engineered, the show was later exposed as a fake. It was in fact, four Corby lads with a strong sense of humour, complete with oozing blood capsules and sick bags. Bar manager Eric McKenna was Sgt Sadistic, Club manager Robert Halfyard was Geriatric Punk, Corby Town FC goalkeeper Peter Walters was Punkular and club doorman Kevin Barby was Gary Gutrot, out to raise money for the Evening Telegraph Christmas Appeal. The audience didn't know it was a set up but dipped into their pockets when the Flashers asked them to buy safety pins.