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THE BROMLEY CONTINGENT

A group of young fans, the Sex Pistols followers, that helped popularise the fashion of the early UK punk movement.
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The Bromley Contingent at Linda Ashby’s flat, October 1976 | Pic: Ray Stevenson

In May, two months ago, Susan Janet Ballion, better known as Siouxsie Sioux, she just turned 65. But, do you know that before she became famous, Siouxsie was a part of the Bromley Contingent?

The Bromley Contingent were a group of followers of the Sex Pistols. The name was coined by Melody Maker journalist Caroline Coon, after the town of Bromley where some of them lived. The Bromley Contingent helped popularise the fashion of the early UK punk movement. Most of them were fans of David Bowie and Roxy Music.

The group included Siouxsie Sioux, Steven Severin, Billy Idol, Soo Catwoman, Simon “Six” Barker, Debbie Juvenile, Linda Ashby, Philip Sallon, Simone Thomas, Bertie “Berlin” Marshall, Tracie O’Keefe and Sharon Hayman.

Simon Barker (centre), Debbie Juvenile, Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin (sitting down), circa 1976 | Pic: Sheila Rock

The Bromley Contingent first appeared in the UK music press after the Sex Pistols gig in Paris on 3 September 1976, when Coon decided to write an article about “the fans rather about the band”. The label was a bit misnomer as they came from all over the place—Kentish Town, Orpington, Bromley, and Burnt Oak. Siouxsie was from Chiselhurst. Severin, Barker, and Berlin were the ones who came from Bromley. Severin stated: “we certainly never referred to ourselves as that.”

The Bromley Contingent attained a degree of notoriety on 1 December 1976 when Siouxsie, Severin, Thomas, and Barker on ITV with the Sex Pistols on Thames Television’s early evening television programme Today. Interviewed by television journalist Bill Grundy, Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten used the word “shit”. Siouxsie then teased the presenter by telling him “I’ve always wanted to meet you”, to which he replied; “Did you really? We’ll meet afterwards, shall we?” This comment provoked guitarist Steve Jones to call Grundy a “dirty sod”, a “dirty old man”, a “dirty bastard”, a “dirty fucker”, and a “fucking rotter”.

Many of the Bromley Contingent went on to form bands themselves: Siouxsie & Severin became singer and bassist of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Idol became the leader of Generation X. Berlin became a writer, Philip Sallon became a fixture of the New Romantic club scene.

Severin and Siouxsie ended up forming Siouxsie and the Banshees

•Read also SEX PISTOLS VS EMI.

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Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.
Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.

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RUDOLF DETHU

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