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      Harris & Scalpay News

Isle of Harris photographer John Maher is returning to his punk roots tonight (Wednesday 12 June) – with a celebration of music and images from the glory days.

Glasgow’s Monorail Music is celebrating Buzzcocks, Pete Shelley and Manchester music, and the launch of a new book about his bandmate and friend has attracted John to fly from Stornoway for an evening sharing his experiences, and his images, with music enthusiasts.

He’ll be at the Mono Café Bar in Glasgow with ex-Fall drummer Steve Hanley, whose social history biography Sixteen Again: How Pete Shelley & Buzzcocks Changed Manchester Music (And Me) was published in paperback in April.

John was quite a bit younger than the other members of Buzzcocks, leaving school at 16 to join the group.

He is now a highly regarded photographer, famous for his buldings and landscapes work in the Outer Hebrides.

But it’s his images from Buzzcocks US tours in 1979 and ’80 that adorn the walls at tonight’s event.

Taking along a ‘point-and-shoot’ Olympus Trip camera, John snapped away at the street scenes he saw in New York and Kansas, capturing images which, he now realises, form a documentary record of how America was then.

Speaking to this week, John said: “All I did was what we all did – sent off my pictures to be developed and kept hold of the negatives that came back with the prints.

“Now they’ve been reproduced at A2 size and it is really amazing the detail captured on that little plastic camera.”

John’s back in Harris tomorrow, but the impact of the exposure in Glasgow could be long-lasting.

He said: “I’ve already been asked to do an exhibition in August at Tolbooth Stirling and Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow is also interested in including some of the pictures as part of a rock photography exhibition they are planning.”

The pictures show a bagel-seller, New York cops and yellow taxi in John’s 1979 snaps, and the front cover of music newspaper Melody Maker – John is in the checked shirt. (John Maher).