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The Summer of Hate 6: Michelle Brigandage

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Michelle became a cult figure when she was pictured at the head of the queue on the first day of the legendary 100 Club punk festival in 1976 (in the picture she is wearing a leopardskin jacket and is flanked by Siouxsie and Steve Severin). She went on to front Brigandage in the early 80s (which included 3:AM‘s Richard Cabut):

What I remember most was going to France with Bruno to see The Clash at the European Punk Festival at Mont de Marsan — which we missed by a day! When I look back I can’t believe we even tried: we were 17, still at school and had never been abroad before.

Also my parents were strict about coming home times — like if we were going out in Bromley I had to be home by 12 or stay with a friend, yet I was the only girl in my class who was allowed up town to see gigs. So I was really shocked when I was allowed to go abroad with a tent with my BOYFRIEND! Even more surprising were Bruno’s parents. We had to tell them we had separate tents, of course! I paid for the trip by working as a waitress at Kardomah in Croydon. On one occasion, I called Rat Scabies in to have a cup of tea and he left without paying!

We got stopped at UK customs where the officer called all his mates over to laugh at my passport photo! Anyway, we got to Paris on August 1st which — as any seasoned traveller would have known is when all Parisians leave town for their annual hols — so when we caught the train south to Avignon it was packed and we had to stand for over 12 hours in the corridor surrounded by a troop of Belgian boy scouts who sang ginggangoolies every half hour, and some Morrocan workers who prayed every five! Don’t even ask why we went to Avignon — why we didn’t get a train straight there or to Toulouse I don’t know!

So we’re going to Avignon trying to hitch, which we’d never done before. I believe we were wearing mohair jumpers in the middle of summer! We finally get a lift with this older couple in a Vdub who tell us they will take us to a campsite, un camp naturiste. Remember this is being carried out in French; our O Level French. By the time we arrive, we’ve worked out it’s a nudist camp! Bruno’s response to this was that he was keeping his socks on.

To cut this episode short, we thanked them, ran away and got a lift to Béziers — our first time at the Med.

Can’t remember how we got to Carcassonne or Toulouse, but we met a so-called French punk at Toulouse and, yes he was wearing a stripy T-shirt, but he also had an animal strapped to his shoulder that didn’t move. We think it was a dead cat.

We got a lift to Agen, but by then it was too late and we’d missed the festival by a day. So we caught a train to St Raphael to catch our friends in St Tropez. At St Raphael, there was a bus strike and we had to get a cab all the way which cost £25! In St Tropez we met an English punk who looked like Johnny Thunders and was busking while David Essex whizzed by on a tiny motorbike. Loads more happened like friends from school passed us in another Vdub and we went with them all over the south and ended up in Monaco!

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When we arrived back home we went to the Vortex to see this new supergroup — turned out to the Rich Kids! Saw Mick Jones there, and tried to tell him that we’d gone to France to see The Clash but he wasn’t that interested. So, all in all, my Summer of Hate was in the south of France, and that’s when I got the taste for travel!

Check out the previous episodes:
The Summer of Hate 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

First posted: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007.

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  1. to be fair i suppose i did ask Rat scabies in for the cup of tea!

  2. Yes, that was looking for trouble!

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