Fresh from making his cinematic debut with The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, director Julien Temple wrote and directed this short promotional film Punk Can Take It for punk band the U.K. Subs.
The promo mixed live performances—shot during the U.K. Subs’ tour to promote the single “Stranglehold”—with a comedic pastiche of Temple’s source material—a Second World War propaganda film London Can Take It, which had shown the plucky Londoners’ resilience to Germany’s bombing campaign. In Temple’s film the U.K. Subs provided the “symphony of war” while Eddie Tudor Pole and Helen Wellington-Lloyd are embattled punks fighting for victory against crass blood-sucking commercialization of the music they love:
Punk is dead. Long live Mod. Or, should that be Rude Boys or Teds?
How often have you heard the enemy make this fatuous claim? Seeking to transmute the volatile energies of punk into safe commercial profits, an unholy alliance of ageing rock stars and child-molesting media businessmen have exhumed the faded fashions of the fifties and sixties.
But punk won’t go away. And punks themselves are becoming younger and nastier everyday. Punks are the shock troops of the eighties. The children of the oil crisis, they have no time for the vicarious thrills of nostalgia or for its trivial rules
The U.K. Subs (short for “Subversives”) were among the original bands who led the British punk charge in 1976. Still performing and recording today, this film captures the Subs at an early high point in their career under the pairing of Charlie Harper (vocals) and Nicky Garratt (guitar) who created a blistering output between 1979-1982.