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SONGS TO REMEMBER: The Adverts – “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”


SONGS TO REMEMBER: The Adverts – “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”





“The Adverts also had their own punk princess in bassist Gaye Advert, who hit big with punk boys by wearing leather, having kohlcd-up panda eyes, and standing blankly behind TV. Smith playing really, really badly. Too cool for me, naturally. The melodramatic Smith had a grim, sub-Clash view of grey old Blighty, and his finest moment was a short story. What if they gave you an eye transplant, and the eyes belonged to a notorious serial killer? Would you see what he saw? Smith delivers this unintentionally hilarious scenario with the po-faced zeal of some reborn left-wing folkie delivering the fearsome truth behind the dangers of…um…well, eye surgery I guess, while the band desperately struggle to keep up and somehow create a momentous charcoal and sepia tension that Smith’s hysteria probably doesn’t deserve.

Dave Marsh, while writing about the Sex Pistols’ ‘Holidays in the Sun’ in The Heart of Rock and Soul, insists intriguingly that “… the real text of almost all Sex Pistols songs is Rotten’s utter loathing of his own physicality”, a judgement that could also be made of Costello’s and Devoto’s early lyrics. Rotten famously declared that sex was ’30 seconds of squelching noises’, and this self-flagellating fear and suspicion of rock’s most common theme fuelled many of punk/new wave’s most inspired, funny and honest moments.

Smith never quite got there either and – heh-heh -did turn out to be a hippy folkie, doing the worthy lefty circuit with the likes of Tom Robinson and Billy Bragg.”

Garry Mulholland in “This Is Uncool – The 500 Greatest Singles since Punk and Disco”