Bromley Contingent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Bromley Contingent were a group of followers of the Sex Pistols.[1] The name was coined by Melody Maker journalist Caroline Coon, after the town of Bromley where some of them lived. They helped popularize the fashion of the early UK punk movement. Most of them were fans of David Bowie and Roxy Music.


The group included Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Billy Idol,[2] Soo Catwoman,[3] Simon 'Boy' Barker, Debbie Juvenile (née Wilson), Linda Ashby, Philip Sallon, Simone Thomas, Bertie 'Berlin' Marshall, Tracie O'Keefe and Sharon Hayman. There were other members who, although very important to the group, did not become more recognised within the later punk scene; names such as Angel and Ruth were remembered, especially by Siouxsie.


The Bromley Contingent attained a degree of notoriety in December 1976 when Siouxsie, Severin, Thomas and Barker appeared on ITV with the Sex Pistols on Thames Television's early evening television programme Today.[4] Interviewed by television journalist Bill Grundy, Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten used the word "shit". Siouxsie then teased the presenter by telling him "I've always wanted to meet you", to which he replied; "Did you really? We'll meet afterwards, shall we?" This comment provoked guitarist Steve Jones to call Grundy a "dirty sod", a "dirty old man", a "dirty bastard", a "dirty fucker" and a "fucking rotter".[5][6] That was the first time in the history of UK television that viewers had heard swearing at this hour of the day. Although the programme was only seen in the Thames Television region, the ensuing furore occupied the tabloid newspapers for days and shortly after the Sex Pistols were dropped by their record label, EMI. This episode changed the face of music in Britain.[7] Up until December 1976, punk rock was a relatively low-key fashion, apart from appearing from time to time in small parts in music papers.[7] In the following week, Siouxsie appeared on the front page of the Daily Mirror with the legend "Siouxsie's a punk shocker".[8]

The notoriety of the Bromley Contingent in the press continued in June 1977, when Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren rented a boat for the band and fans to sail down the River Thames during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee anniversary celebration. When the police forced the boat to dock, several Pistols fans were arrested and injured in the melee. Bromley Contingent members Juvenile and Tracie O'Keefe (both employees of McLaren in his King's Road clothing boutique Seditionaries) were charged with obstruction and assaulting a police officer.[9] Juvenile was acquitted. O'Keefe was sentenced to one month's imprisonment, later acquitted on appeal. O'Keefe died unexpectedly in early 1978 of bone marrow cancer at the age of 18.[9]

Sid Vicious, the bassist who replaced Glen Matlock in Sex Pistols, claimed in interviews of the time that he despised the Bromley Contingent. This was in spite of his having played drums for Siouxsie and the Banshees' debut live appearance at the 100 Club Punk Festival in 1976 and regularly socializing with the group. In a 1977 interview for BBC Wales, Vicious claimed to have invented the Pogo as a means to knock them over at the 100 Club, though subsequent books have said it came about as a result of others copying him when he was attempting to see an early Sex Pistols concert from the back of the room.


Many of the Bromley Contingent went on to form bands themselves including Siouxsie and the Banshees and Generation X.[2] The fashion statements made by Siouxsie, in particular, incorporating fetish and bondage clothing, and her innovative style of makeup, had a lasting influence.

Barker became a photographer, using the nickname 'Six'.[10] Bertie 'Berlin' Marshall became a writer, publishing a novel, Psychoboys in 1999 and a memoir Berlin Bromley in 2001 which received favourable reviews from The Guardian[11] and Time Out London magazine.[12] Philip Sallon became a fixture of the British New Romantic club scene in the early 1980s alongside the likes of Steve Strange and Boy George.[13]


  1. ^ Paytress, Mark (2003). Siouxsie & the Banshees: The Authorised Biography. London, UK: Sanctuary. ISBN 9781860743757.
  2. ^ a b Perry, Andrew (24 July 2008). "Billy Idol: the return of Billy the kid". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  3. ^ "The Bromley Contingent". Punk77. 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  4. ^ Brown, Jonathan (1 December 2006). "Never mind four-letter words... here's the Sex Pistols: when television met punk rock". The Independent. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Sex Pistols - Bill Grundy TV show". YouTube. 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  6. ^ Bychawski, Adam (28 July 2008). "Sex Pistols on Bill Grundy's 'Today' show most requested clip". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b Macia, Peter (21 October 2010). "Interview With Ari Up from the Siouxsie Sioux/Shabba Ranks Icon Issue". The Fader. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Daily Mirror December 1976". Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Tracie O'Keefe". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  10. ^ Gallix, Andrew (August 2002). "Pervateen: An Interview With Photographer Six". 3:AM Magazine. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  11. ^ "SAF publishing". Archived from the original on 3 August 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Bertie Marshall "Berlin Bromley"". Time Out. London, UK. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Taboo Reviews". The Blitz Kids Site. 30 January 2002. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2016.

External links[edit]