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The only known footage of the Sex Pistols’ Manchester Free Trade Hall shows sells for £15,000

The 8mm film of the gig, that Buzzcock’s Steve Diggle later described as“the day the punk rock atom was split”, sold for below the expected price and considered by many to be a bargin for the purchaser.

Footage of Sex Pistols performing two shows at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976 that was expected to go for over £20,000 has sold for £15,000 at auction.

The two shows have gone down in music legend, in part due to the number of future musicians in the crowd, who were all inspired by the shows to form bands of their own.

Among the audiences of the two shows were future Joy Division bandmates Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Ian Curtis, The Fall‘s Mark E Smith, Buzzcocks‘ Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto and Steve Diggle, as well as Factory Records founder Tony Wilson.

Auction house Omega Auctions has sold 8mm film of the shows, (that includes all the copyright to the footage) for £15,000 to an anonymous online bidder.

Sex Pistols at Free Trade Hall CREDIT: Omega Auctions

Paul Glynn, BBC News Entertainment Reporter said that the 8mm Super 8 film is the “only known footage of the gigs”, so the “historic nature” of them was “indisputable”.

Buzzcocks’ Steve Diggle described the first show as “the day the punk rock atom was split”, adding: “That’s where it exploded from, it changed Manchester and it changed the world.”

Auctioneer Paul Fairweather added that the show was “the birth of punk.” and that the footage shows the Pistols “ at their sneering, swaggering best and truly does capture what must have been so electrifying for the audiences lucky enough to have attended.’

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