How the Times & Citizen appealed to find missing pic of Sid Vicious’s girlfriend Nancy Spungeon

Steve Emberton pictured with some of his iconic images
Steve Emberton pictured with some of his iconic images

This year marks the 40th anniversary of how punk rock changed the world.

And just a few years ago, the Times & Citizen was at the centre of a very peculiar punk rock coincidence.

In 2011 music venue Bedford Esquires got in touch with a request to run an appeal.

Its Nancy Spungeon lady’s toilet door sign had gone missing, and they wanted us to help find it.

The T&C was only too happy to oblige, and printed a picture of the boss Pete Burridge with the Sid Vicious sign still adoring the men’s loos.

The story ran that week and, to our surprise we got a call from Steve Emberton, the man behind the iconic shot of the tragic Sex Pistols bass player and his girlfriend.

And not only had Steve spotted the picture in the T&C, he lived in Bedford and worked out of a studio in town.

Speaking of the day he photographed the pair, just months before Nancy would be found dead in a room at New York’s Chelsea Hotel, Steve said: “The picture was done at Sid’s House in Maida Vale.

“I went their with a journalist to do a story based on their reputation and I was expecting a little bit of aggro, but they were actually very nice people.

“We had to knock at the door for quite a while because they were still in bed and Sid answered with a bottle of vodka in his hand.

“Nancy was a bit of a poser and they were both really into it.

“Usually with a roll of film for something like that you get maybe three or four shots which are great, but with that I would say 70 percent of them.

“This was done just prior to them going back to America, and soon after she was dead.”

The phone call led to this newspaper putting Steve in touch with Pete, and the pair organised a photographic show at the venue.

Steve also displayed his work at the Rock City Art Gallery in Castle Quay.

American Steve worked as a music photographer in the 1970s and took pictures of punk stars of the day including Iggy Pop, The Clash and Siouxsie Sioux.

And the photographer admitted that the punk era was not his favourite time to work in the business.

Steve, who now lives in Northumberland, said: “When you are in the orchestra pit and people are throwing beer cans full of wee when you have your livelihood around your neck is not very nice.”

To find out more visit www.steveemberton.com