How one man’s encyclopaedic music knowledge saved the Limit book project

How one man’s encyclopaedic music knowledge saved the Limit book project

Nigels Limit gigs in the early days

When you’re trying to research a venue that opened over 40 years ago – especially when you’re in the middle of a pandemic – it’s not so easy.

In normal times I’d have spent days poring over the entertainment sections of old newspapers in the city’s Local Studies Department but in 2020 that’s not possible.

But for the 10th anniversary edition of ‘Take It To The Limit’ I found help from a source arguably better than any library.

Nigel Lockwood was there on the night the Limit opened, and the night the Limit shut.

Nigel Lockwood and Glen Matlock

He was there for the first gig of the Clash at Sheffield’s Black Swan. They supported the Sex Pistols on July 4th, 1976. It was the city’s first punk show.

Sid Vicious ensured Nigel Lockwood was kitted out in appropriate attire. He was behind the counter at Malcolm McLaren’s renowned SEX shop on the King’s Road in October the same year when he purchased hisdrainpipe trousers with green plastic pocket. They still have pride of place in his wardrobe.

He was there for the last UK performance of the Sex Pistols at Ivanhoes in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977.

Nigel with Iggy Pop in New York City

It wasn’t unusual for him to stop the night at Glen Matlock’s gaff in London and he hooked up with the original Sex Pistol again in New York in September 1980. He spent the night hanging out with Iggy Pop, Mick Ronson and the then former-Sex Pistol.

In between all that he kept diaries. Nigel Lockwood can tell you the date of every gig he ever attended. He knows the headliner, the support band, the set list – even the songs he danced to.

Nigel Lockwood can point out where the newspapers got it wrong, when the band never actually turned up – virtually everything!

In short he’s a walking music encyclopaedia and he has been since September 1972 when David Bowie first blew his mind at the Top Rank.

Nigel Lockwood totally loved the early days of the Limit.

He said: “I remember Wire being booked for the first night – Saturday, March 25th, 1978. But the Push did it. It actually opened earlier in the week with Bitter Suite.

Siouxsie perform at the Limit - pic by Pete Hill

Siouxsie and the Banshees played on March 31st. People were fighting in the audience that night. There was often trouble in the early days.

Adam & the Ants performed not long after - on Wednesday, April 19th. They were all dressed in black. Jordan seemed to act as their minder and mentor. She also did a solo spot.

The Limit carried on in the same vein with Cherry Vanilla on Saturday, May 13th,  1978. I made a note of that night as someone called me a pretentious punk!”

Nigel Lockwood has been an invaluable help to book and given me access to his amazing collection of flyers, diaries and more. Thank you Nigel!

By Neil Anderson.


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