Punk rocker Sid Vicious dances to Christmas hits with a gaggle of children, while fellow Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten hands out presents. It sounds implausible, but this is how the British punk band spent Christmas Day in 1977.
Unseen footage of Sex Pistols members in this unlikely scenario will be broadcast for the first time in a new documentary to be aired on BBC television today.
The band spent Christmas that year playing a charity gig for the children of striking firefighters at a nightclub in Huddersfield, a market town in northern England.
“To most people they were monsters in the news,” director Julien Temple, who filmed the punks performing that day, told the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday. “But seeing them playing to seven and eight-year-olds is beautiful. They were a radical band, but there was a lot more heart to that group than people know.”
The charity gig was to be the Sex Pistols’ last British performance. Bassist Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose in 1979, four months after he was charged with murdering his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, who was found stabbed in their New York hotel room.
Temple’s documentary, Never Mind the Baubles: Xmas ‘77 With the Sex Pistols shows frontman Rotten leaping into a giant Christmas cake, before the band and audience hurl chunks of it at each other.
“It’s probably the best footage of the Pistols on film, but it’s never been seen,” he said.
The band had been banned from performing at most British venues by December 1977, Temple said, including the Holiday Inn hotel chain.
Snippets of the footage appeared in Temple’s 2000 documentary The Filth and the Fury, but this is the first time it will be shown in what the director called its “full, unbelievably energetic glory.”