Jesse Hector and The Hammersmith Gorillas

gorillas_1222425753_crop_400x270LOCATION: London

DOCUMENTARY: A Message to the World [dir. Caroline Catz]

WORDS: Gareth E. Rees

This is a fine slice of unofficial rock history, helping quash any notions that somehow the Sex Pistols and the Damned were created by some lightning bolt from the stars.

Caroline Catz’s documentary A Message to the World takes us to the London of the early ’70s when guitarist Jesse Hector was strutting his stuff, first with his proto-punk underground garage band, Crushed Butler, then the Hammersmith Gorillas. With his proto-glam mutton chops, mod stylings and heavy, heavy riffs he was one of the many forgotten progenitors of punk. Some claim that The Gorilla’s version of the Kinks’ You Really Got Me was the first British punk single.

photo_jesse

These days, Jesse Hector is a cleaner at the Hackney Empire. Mixing flashback with contemporary interviews, A Message to the World follows Hector as he’s cajoled into performing live once again for his small legion of devotees.

Cue: scenes of soul searching as Hector stares at himself in the mirror and wonders whether he could ever reclaim the spirit that made him great – albeit unrecognised, uncanonised, and left out of British rock’s storyline.

Will he return to reclaim his place? Or is he too bloody rock and roll for all that?

If you get the chance to watch it, do so. It’s great stuff.

Crushed Butler ~ It’s My Life…

The Hammersmith Gorillas ~ ‘You Really Got Me’.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

He's 128Gareth E. Rees is author of Marshland: Dreams & Nightmares on the Edge of London. His work appears in Mount London: Ascents In the Vertical CityAcquired for Development By: A Hackney Anthology, and the album A Dream Life of Hackney Marshes.

 

 

More Articles for You

White Tents in the Car Park: A Covid 19 Despatch from Kent

Emilia Ong on the chilling vision of a Covid testing centre in a Margate car park

From Neolithic Roundabouts & Satanic Car Parks to Council Estate Poltergeists – The Weird Lore of Everyday Urban Places

In this video presentation, Gareth E. Rees takes you on a visual journey through the unexpected places he visits in his book, ‘Unofficial Britain’

The Eerie Tale of the Zombie Junction Behind Sainsbury’s Car Park

On an ill-fated supermarket car park walk during the pandemic, Gareth E. Rees ends up stalking the undead beside an abandoned roundabout

The Banshee and the Roundabout: Bizarre stories & folklore today

Irish storyteller Helena Byrne, place writer Marcel Krueger & Gareth E. Rees discuss the importance of folklore, bizarre stories and urban myths in the contemporary world

Nothing With Nothing: A Lonely Drift Down Marine Drive, Margate

Emilia Ong’s meditation on alienation and strangeness on a walk by the amusement arcades of a British seaside town

Ghostspaces Where the Bombs Once Fell

To celebrate Halloween, Deeana Violet tells the tale of the ghosts which filled the spaces created by Blitz devastation in Sheffield