Being in a room with Lenny Marsh you can tell he is full of stories, he has this ora about him, showing his grandchildren’s school pictures you soon realise he isn’t the a grandad who will slip you an extra sweet when your mums not looking, but someone who very much is still a punk through and through. It was subtle but there would be a tattoo here, a piercing there and a safety pin on a long old chain around his neck and you realised these were the best days of his life.
Why punk, out of all subcultures, why not a hippy?
“You are having a life right? (He chuckles under his voice) Hippy’s were everything we aimed not to be, long hair, baggy clothes, nahhhh, thats not me! Punk isn’t just about the clothes, its about the community, everyone gets you, I guess i got into punk the end of school when my band starting getting more serious, this was my way to rebel.”
You had a band? Whats the name?
“Generation Clash (He lifts up his ripped shirt sleeve to show a very makeshift tattoo of his band name.) It was my life, i lived for that band, 5 of us, me, Clive, Oz, Kev and Mick. We had all the girls at our feet, they loved the old school garage rock.
What happened to Generation Clash?
“Well, as sad as it sounds we got greedy, when your more into sex and drugs than the music you are waiting to fail.”
What happened when you failed?
“We all took it hard, annoyed with ourselves mostly, let our ego get too big, Mick took it the hardest, hardcore alcohol and drug abuse and poor sod didn’t make it to christmas.”
Was punk just about the music for you?
“No not at all! i was hard core. (it didn’t surprise me.) Short sides, mohawk, my hairs been more colours than you’ve had hot dinners. It was important to look good. Without looking good you weren’t a punk.”
What would be a typical outfit?
“Depends on the person, there would be lass’ in just bin bags and safety pins, i was more of a drainpipe and creeper guy, along with the tartan, no punk was seen without tartan and you trusty leather jacket which i still wear to this day. (In fact he is wearing it now.)”
Was this affordable?
“Definitely, items could be re used, jeans were ripped, patches were put on with safety pins, paint everywhere, looking at it, basically one big mess, (he laughs to himself with a smile) it was simple, effortless, slogans everywhere, anything went thats what i loved about it.”
Was your wife a punk?
“What Betty? Haha no! she wasn’t a fan of me being a punk and the things i got away with, she had a soft spot for my bike though”
To finish what is your best memory?
It all! Being with my friends, people saw us as scary but we were anything but, i enjoyed a simpler time with good music and good company.
As Lenny got up to walk away i saw him clasp the safety chain around his neck, thinking of a different time, one i couldn’t imagine being part of but one i now feel i understand.