Blank Generation: original punk posters in South London

In 1977, Gary Loveridge spotted a Damned poster that he liked the look of hanging on the wall at his local record shop in Weston Super Mare. He decided to take it. ‘It was on the wall of the listening booth. I took it off the wall, rolled it up and stuck it under my jumper. I walked out, looking very suspicious. They probably knew exactly what was going on.’

And so it began. Loveridge, a landscape gardener, now has around 250 original music posters, and 100 devoted to punk are on display until March 8 at the 198 Gallery  on Railton Road. Not all were collected in quite the clandestine way of the first, but they are all original and numerous bands are featured, including the Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Lurkers, Buzzcocks, TV Personalities, Mekons, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, PiL and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The Damned poster that got it all started

‘This is the first time I’ve seen them all on the wall together in one place,’ says Loveridge. ‘At home they are all in tubes, some on the walls but I haven’t enough room to put them all up.’

The posters were largely used to promote LPs and singles in record shops, although there are some from bus stops and concert venues. Most such posters will have been thrown out by the stores, making such a large collection quite unusual. Loveridge collected many on his way from gigs in Bristol, and then later added to his collection at markets and record fairs.

The exhibition takes in two rooms and also features part of Loveridge’s collection of badges, flyers, fanzines and other ephemera, some of which – such as the flyers for the Sex Pistols banned tour – are much sought after. Also on display is a framed advert from 1977, cut out from a local paper, promoting a gig by a mysterious band called The Spots. Now who could they be?

Punk was an incredibly visual movement, as one would expect from something inspired by glam and Situationism and created in art schools and clothes shops, so these posters are eye-catching and iconic.  A small selection are reproduced below, but the real thrill is seeing them collectively and close-up; many have pulled from walls and windows so have an authentically battered look, while the accumulation of colour and striking design is a treat for the eye. But you’ve only got six weeks, so hurry.

Blank Generation: A Collection of Original Punk Posters, 198 Gallery, 198 Railton Road, SE24 0JT. Until March 8, 2012

Spiral Scratch by Buzzcocks

Pretty Vacant by Sex Pistols

The Clash at Brixton Academy

The Mekons at North Staffs Poly

The Pop Group and Alternative TV

Blondie poster rejected by band as it featured only Debbie Harry

Elvis Costello

Sandinista by The Clash

The Only Ones

Siouxsie And The Banshees (with Human League third on bill)

London Calling by The Clash ('two for a fiver!')

Sex Pistols - used to introduce the band to the United States

Ian Dury

Sex Pistols

The Jam

Badges and flyers

Never Mind The Bollocks beer and fanzines

Sex Pistols flyer from SPOTS tour

23 responses to “Blank Generation: original punk posters in South London

  1. Suprerb stuff! I was at the Coventry Pistols gig & I think it was the spots tour not the Anarchy tour which was the previous year, I remember Lydon coming on stage stating “Glad to see the Arsenal won as they beat Coventry on their ground 2-0 that day!

  2. Totally lovely. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  3. Annoying that the gallery doesn’t seem to be open at weekends. Nevertheless, I’ll try to find tome to get along one lunchtime.

  4. Or time, even…

  5. gary loveridge

    nigel it the pistols nevermind the bans tour its a great poster/flyer double sided .
    paul check the facebook page we are showing a film one evening and having a closing event on the 3rd march

    • Gary, Went down today, Wonderful! I want to go to the film night & the closing event if that is possible please & I can really bore you, if, hopefully you will be there, & The Lurkers are playing The Venue in New Cross this saturday but not as we knew them, I’ll give it a miss. p.s the Curator at the expo is a top lady! regards Nigel.

  6. Amateur Casual

    Blondie poster: rejected by the band, rejoiced by teenage boys country-wide…

  7. gary loveridge

    nigel just come down for both events and join the facebook page as i hope to add events . gary

  8. Gary – found a Facebook page for the exhibition, but couldn’t see any details of the film or the event on 3/3. Probably just me being dim, but could you provide a link or post details here? Ta. Paul

    • gary loveridge

      sorry paul i will be putting stuff up soon the screening of sid! by those that really knew him is 7-9pm friday 24th feb followed by chat about the film
      the closing event will be a book reading and signing TBC on thursday 1st march we are going to have a saturday opening where i will be at the 198 to talk about music posters and collecting date TBC
      regards gary

  9. Pingback: Take Two: Punk posters and Dogstar drinks | Brixton Blog

  10. No Red Alert Posters?

  11. gary loveridge

    venus you’re right no red alert posters i went to most of their gigs and there was never any posters . do you have any ? G

  12. we are showing another film friday at 7pm

    • Hi Gary,Earlier in the year I was told about this site and the work being done to secure your reasele. I have read many of the comments left for you over the past few months but delayed posting one. I did not know where to start. I have thought about you many times over the years, I don’t know why, but I presumed you had been reaseled. When I heard you were still inside I felt terrible for not keeping up some kind of contact. It’s been a long time…I remember meeting you in Hilltop park just before you travelled to London, we hung out on the swings! I must have been wagging school again that day, life was pretty shit for me back then. I know you were mostly pals with the lads but you always included me and made me laugh and feel safe. We have met since but that day is so clear in my mind. It was carefree.All I want to say is that I hope you get to be that carefree again very soon…Love and best wishes, Mel.

      • gary loveridge

        hi martin/mel i think there must be some mistake. where is hilltop park ? and i have never been inside ?
        kind regards gary

  13. the next event is thursday 1st march 6.30pm

  14. Fantastic collection, wish I’d had the foresight that you had back them!
    To be honest I didn’t intend on going, being I went to a similar exhibition, a couple of years earlier “Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper„ Toby Mott. I think it was called. Which was really disappointing, unlike this Blank Generation exhibition,. The Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper exhibition had more reproductions than originals.. Such as the Clash On Parole Target Poster! This is a huge poster, measuring 30″ x 40″, yet, the one on display at the Loud Flash: British Punk on Paper exhibition was about half this size! All the National Front flyers & Literature looks genuine, most of this would have only been sent out to members of the National Front, but I guess that went with being a skinhead, a movement that was against everything that punk stood for! So I was pleased I decided to go, because unlike last time, I left this exhibition feeling really good!!

  15. James freeman

    Just watched the tv program about your poster collection on BBC2 – 13/4/2015..
    Please can you let me know if the exhibition at Fulham Palace is hoing to take place (as per the tv show) I would love to see this collection displayed..
    Many thanks

  16. Jet Silver (Mark Hambly

    Funny how everyone from Weston claims to have followed Red Alert and went to all their gigs. Most of the Weston fans that went to their gigs were the band’s friends (admittedly which there were a lot of!) which you certainly wasn’t! And there were always at least a 150 to 200 of us Bristol punks at their gigs! Being you are supposedly such a Red Alert fan I find it strange that you seem to be constantly slagging off certain members of Red Alert behind their back online- even to this day. Can someone still be jealous of another person after 40 years – you have certainly proved this to be the case!
    When you cowardly slag another person off hiding behind your PC, it will get back to that person eventually….. Mark Hambly (Ex-Vice Squad).

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