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Baker's Dozen

Beloved Transmissions: Mary Anne Hobbs' Favourite Albums
Daniel Dylan Wray , May 22nd, 2017 08:14

Ahead of her curation at the Manchester International Festival, Mary Anne Hobbs guides Daniel Dylan Wray on an inspiring trip through 13 records that shaped her life


Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks
This was the seed for so many people, I suppose. I remember we had a teacher at school, I won't name him, he was a music teacher and he was maniacal I think it was fair to say. He spent an entire double lesson ranting about the evils of punk rock and how punk rock would destroy the fabric of society and I didn't even really know what the fabric of society even meant at that point but I thought, 'do you know what, if you represent the fabric of society then I need to find out what punk rock is'. Bizarrely, and inadvertently, I think he turned the entire class onto punk in such a big and serious fashion that afternoon. The first single I ever bought was 'Holidays in the Sun' and I bought the album too.

My dad completely banned music from my house when I was a little girl. I don't know why, he never really had a reason for any of the rules that he made up. He didn't allow us music in the house but that didn't stop me buying records and I used to hide them in my sock draw with a little tiny record player that would just about contain a 12". He would find them invariably and smash them up, so all these original records don't exist any longer. It's interesting when your father smashes up your records because it makes them even more precious to you I suppose, it creates resistance and you push violently back against that. The impact of that music, it was so visceral, it played directly off your central nervous system.

I guess the only thing my dad never found was a little transistor radio I had, it was about as big as a can of tuna fish and it had a little dial. I could hide that quite successfully. I would lie in bed with the covers over my head and I used to scroll across the dial looking for John Peel's show. With the advent of punk, Peel's programme changed almost entirely. The entire fabric of it changed overnight. I heard Peel playing punk on the radio and he and the Pistols seemed to stand at the gateway to a different kind of universe for me. They seemed to exemplify and suggest to me that there was another life and that I could find it and I could live it, which is then what I went on to do, at 18 I ran away to London and I lived in a car park for a year with a band on a bus - an old coach that we used to call the blue goose hotel. I wrote my little fanzine and it was crazy times. It was the seeds of the Pistols and listening to Peel play the Pistols and punk on the radio that made me believe that it was the best idea I'd ever had in my life to run away. The whole record is just a beacon of hope for me really; it just embodies that period of my life when I was just desperate to get away from a small village.