Born in Stockport, Manchester, Paul Morley worked as a writer critic for the NME during 1977. He is recognized as an influence on almost every significant British music writer to have emerged since. Here Paul describes his northern experience, and compares Liverpool and Manchester music development. The commentary below was written some time ago but the link is still alive, if you want the rest of the story. I believe that Morley's description of the Liverpool 1977 punk scene is pretty straight. Joe Strummer talking to half of Liverpool description is incorrect and most likely occurred at a later Eric's appearance in 78 or 79. We were at both Clash shows during 1977. During the May show there was a gathering with Joe and Mick around the dressing room door, that spilled into the dressing room, but it consisted of about 20 or 30 Eric's regulars. The October 22nd show was an interesting night as the band flew into Speke airport from Belfast. The plane was delayed due to bad weather. People at the club were starting to think that the band were not going to arrive. People started to leave the club. Mike Peters was keeping us up to speed with what was happening since that night his band The Toilets were supported the Clash. He discusses this night briefly on The Alarm web site.
The Liverpool scene started a little later than other parts of the country. Historically it was tough to know how to avoid the trap of appearing to be creating another Merseybeat scene. Throughout the early Seventies, only Deaf School, a self-conscious sort of panto Roxy Music, gave any clues as to how to form a new Liverpool band without being the Beatles.
Eric's opened in October 1976 as a members club, which allowed it to stay open until 2am, and it started to put on bands like the Ramones, the Damned, Talking Heads , and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers . The Spitfire Boys were playing Ramones covers on a Warrington bill with the Buzzcocks and the Heartbreakers by May '77 and as the only Liverpool based punk group at the time, they would support all the visiting groups. They were also the first Liverpool punk band to have a record out, but in a way their take on punk was a false start, and was soon overtaken by the Liverpool scenesters, jokesters, gossipers and posers who acted like superstars when their only audience was each other. There had been an underground since 1975, with glam followers looking to create a New York type scene around their love for Bowie and Roxy, but for a while it was more clothes, and hair, than music. The vitriolic Pete Burns was the city's ultimate face with make-up better than any music he ever made.
Perhaps Liverpool was in some ways slow to get going because they didn't have the Sex Pistols visit twice. The closest the Pistols got was Chester some time in the autumn of '76. [Pistols actually played a gig in October 1976] The big change in Liverpool happened when the Clash played Eric's on 5 May 1977, and Joe Strummer spent hours talking with half of Liverpool, or at least the half of Liverpool that was a) reading the NME; b) wanting to form a group; c) living more or less with each other; d) working out what particular pose would save their lives; or e) hating/bitching about members of other Liverpool cliques and clans and cults who just weren't cool enough, pretty enough, arty enough or good enough.