Thursday, 18 February 2010
"Let's all go to where the people go ..." sings Nick Cash on 999's Brent Cross, a live b-side. In 1976 punk rock wasn't the only thing that was big news. The opening of the Brent Cross shopping centre in north west London hit the headlines too. And just as punk changed people's approach to music, so Brent Cross changed people's shopping habits. It was the first stand-alone fully enclosed shopping centre in the UK, controversially built as separate to any existing shopping centre. Brent Cross nevertheless was a massive success, and for people from all parts of London and beyond it was very much the place to go as 999 suggested. 999 by the end of the '70s were not front page news, but their early singles still sound fantastic. They were among the punk era groups to benefit from Martin Rushent's magic touch, and not enough has been done to celebrate his contribution to the sounds of the time. The Stranglers were another of the United Artists groups to work with Rushent. Coincidentally they were linked to the Brent Cross catchment area via their hardcore fans The Finchley Boys whom they celebrated in Burning Up Time: "The weekend's here. The Finchley Boys are gonna make a lot of noise!".