The Tale of the Third City
There is nothing for us in Belfast, the Pound so old it’s a pity, OK there's the Trident in Bangor then you walk back to the city.
I can honestly say; out of all the songs ever written during that period by any of Northern Irish bands. Alternative Ulster by Stiff Little Fingers, was, and probably still is the only one, that I know off anyway, to have mention the Bangor scene and it's a shame really, considering that's where it all began. I also think it's a pity none of the Bangor bands never mentioned the Young Americans. At least then we would have had some kind of 'record' off those colourful headers who were known to the locals as the Quality Street Gang.
You know; every time I think of that name, not only does it have me creased up with laughter, it also has me wondering what the fuck did the people of Bangor actually think of those YA's when they were running about Bangor 73 - 74 – 75 and then there's the ‘Clockwork Orange’ before them. I do know but what was it with Bangor, the sea fucking air?
Over the past five years or so, I have heard untold stories regarding the Viking and the YAs. Bill Moore, the one time resident DJ, once told me the cue used to be right round the block, down Crosby Street onto Quay Street and the people used to drive pass the Viking God knows how many times. Just to see the Quality Street Gang cueing up outside the venue. Although out of all the stories I have heard, the one that sticks in my Head the most, is Big Greg Keys story. The one were he had to run down High Street in Bangor, from the car park behind what is now Jenny Watts, to the Viking. That meant having to run past the Helmsman, which was full of Spide’s and I do believe that also includes the Shankill Butcher 'Lenny Murphy' but get this, the big man is as camp as you like for starters and on that particular night he was dressed in a white wedding dress. You know, when ever I close my eyes and think of this story, I can almost picture him, all 6 foot and fuck knows how many inches tall dressed as a fucking bride. Now you have to remember, at that particular time, it was a little bit more than just ‘ frowned upon’ if you get my drift. Not only was it actually illegal here - in Northern Ireland to be homosexual, back then it was also very dangerous but did they care, did they fuck.
They lead the way, opening up doors for the likes of me. Making it easy for those wanting and willing to follow in their footsteps and I am sorry if this happens to ruin anyone’s illusion regarding the Belfast scene but as I have said time and time again. It wasn’t all about Terri Hooley, Good Vibrations and believe me, there was life long before the Harp Bar.
Sadly I never got the privilege of setting foot inside the Viking in its hay day. I did in the 80s, when it was then known as Sam’s and believe me. As you walked through the doors, into that main arena, you were met with this strange awareness. You sort of knew that something great had happened there. Now whether that's everyone’s feeling or whether it was just me or that it was limited to just those who knew or had at least heard off the Viking.
Whatever is was, it’s kind a hard to put an explanation into words. I guess you could say, it was a ghostly like experience, as though the spirits of those Young Americans were still present within that old structure. Even today that feeling; that aura’ can still be felt, well at least I still feel it.
Anyway, it's the closet I ever came to the Viking but when it comes to the upstairs lounge of Paddy Lambs. My first encounter with Alan and Alana Revel, the brother and sister double act from Ballyhackamore. Then, of course, my own induction to world of Punk Rock, which, of course, was kindly carried out by my old work colleagues 'Billy and Freddy' at the Glenmachan Stables.
All these wonderful moments lived out in a short lived yet hectic life span, which will never be forgotten but from time to time' they do get you thinking. Whereas back then, you didn't have time to think, everything seemed to come in short quick succession. You never had any time to prepare yourself, not even with the help of my new found contacts. Not even they could have prepared me for my first visit to Paddy Lamb’s and the Glenmachan. Simply because; each new event came with an entirely new experience bundled with a whole bunch of new surprises and believe me. Our first night at the Trident was certainly no exception to the rules.
Just getting there; and I don't just mean that first night but every night was exciting and, of course, without drama. A simple task of getting to the bus stop, safely. The bus journey itself and then finally that walk from Bangor bus station to the Trident, was a constant adrenaline rush pumping through your veins. I dare say most sixteen year olds would have been put off from ever going back again, after the first night expereince we had but not us, we couldn't wait to go back.
These extracts have been taken from first dratf chapters, even though they are displayed on this site they may not necessarily appear in the book, but I can assure you without any doubt whatsoever, they most certainly are part and parcel of the "Trilogy Story"! So if you buy the Book, you like it and want to read the Chapters that are not included, they will be available from this site! Remember its 40 years of memories and 5 years of research!
I would also like point out, that we are in search of photos of the era, so if you can help please send copies of whatever you have to, firstname.lastname@example.org don't forget to leave your details so we can credit you. Thanks