Clouds is still a venue at Tollcross in Edinburgh. It has been the perfect venue for teenage kicks since way before 1977, and continues to this day under a new name and different management. It's where Ewan McGregor picks up the sophisticated schoolgirl in Trainspotting. It hosted a key moment in Irvine Welsh's Glue as well. Irvine knows, man! Clouds was the first venue to host punk in 1977 in Edinburgh when the Damned played. That gig was about half-full - mostly John Peel fans and protopunks venturing out to see how many of us there were in town. But the place really exploded for Clouds' next punk gig, which was the Ramones. It was mobbed to the rafters. Clouds has a sprung dancefloor, and when they launched into Blitzkrieg Bop, all the bouncers were pogoing too.
Clouds was big, dark and scary. In the early days, at the end of the night there would be 100 people lying in a heap on the floor wriggling and lashing out as if they had completely lost their senses. It was a kind of punk dance craze which was called the Deid Flea. The night Generation X were due to play they lost their license and drove the first 100 people to West Linton Pantiles, which was deemed the most suitable alternative venue. It was in the middle of nowhere and they must have thought they were being invaded. They're still talking about that night 20 years later, just as I am myself. Clouds was a totally fantastic scene, and the three or four gigs we did there were thrilling events.
Here are some shots from one night with the Buzzcocks and Penetration. Later Penetration's bassplayer would produce our album. We toured with Pauline Murray later, by which time John Maher from the Buzzcocks had joined her touring band. Pauline's soundchecks were detailed and comprehensive, and our catchphrase as we waited to soundcheck was "Never hurry a Murray...".
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