Ed Ake and the Painkillers

Ed Ake with Woolies special!Ed Ake and the Painkillers never actually existed. They were merely a creation of Edward ian Armchair. The first reference to The Painkillers came at the end of the summer of 1977. That summer had seen punk peak nationally, the Armchair was a regular visitor to Barbarella's in Birmingham to see every punk band you could imagine. But surprise, surprise, punk hadn't reached the little market town of Tamworth, Staffordshire - except for the Armchair of course.

Let me take you back to 1977. This was pre-Thatcher, a Labour government, the whole country was used to power cuts, strikes, rampant inflation and rising unemployment. The popular music of the time was still disco, Saturday Night Fever and Grease were the 'in' films for all the little kiddies of Tamworth. Your typical Tamworth teenager had collar length greasy hair cut by the local 'Alley Barber'. A lumberjack jacket was the norm, flared Brutus jeans or Oxford Bags for smart wear! Pot Noodles had just been invented, Party Sevens were still the only cans of beer you could get. Life was a ball!

So, if you imagine a 6 foot 5 inch ginger haired punk with a quiff the size of a baby elephant's trunk, wearing skin tight drainpipe jeans (hand -sewn), and an assortment of Oxfam clothes, collarless shirts, mohair suit jackets that didn't fit and riffy overcoats. A sight like this around a small town such as Tamworth, raised many an eyebrow. He caused many a local to feel the urge to shout from buses and cars and of course the local, brain-dead hooligan often found it necessary to try and pick a fight.

So when the Armchair decided to make it official that punk had arrived in Tamworth by sending a letter to the local weekly paper, the Tamworth Herald, for Tamworth it was a big event. The letter was printed and immediately Armchair was contacted to feature in a special report on 'Punks in Tamworth'. The reporter with his extensive skills in investigative reporting had only found two punks in the whole of Tamworth, Armchair and a girl known as 'Suzie Headbanger'. However, despite the attempts by the press to belittle the subject, almost immediately, Tamworth's hidden collection of punks began to emerge. The Armchair met Tony 'Boney' Jones, went on to meet Vince Disease (Watts) and things never looked back. Tamworth's first punk band, The Reliants were formed and the rest is history. Other punky types who are worth a mention, who were there but may not be mentioned elsewhere are:

Martin France, Mick Billington, Andy Billington, Pam Cordell, Ken Harvey, John Zigo, Steve Hall, Dave Court, Teresa McGeough and Jane Smith. Others who were on the verge include: Trevor Swift, Martin Watts, Jonathan Cope and a tall chap called Steve who used to hang around with a short chap called Martin. Others who were just a little bit younger but still into the music at the time, often hiding it from their parents (yes, that's how shocking it was) include: Eve Matthews, Sam Holliday, Paul Killick, Mark Mortimer and Andy Lees.

To see what happens next, as Ed Ake becomes Edward ian Armchair, take a look at The Reliants.