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The Independent Culture
Long before John Lydon went Rotten, Ian Dury was wearing razor blades and spitting bile as the front-man with Kilburn and the High Roads, mainstays of the pub-rock circuit which centred on Islington's Hope & Anchor pub. Though his background was solidly R&B, the image of Dury the polio victim, twisted around his mike stand, was ideally placed to ride the New Wave. Backed by the Blockheads, including songwriting partner Chaz Jankel, Dury examined the down-at-heel London life with a coarse wit and optimism which was lacking in so many of his contemporaries.

Commercial successes included the still-influential 1977 album New Boots and Panties!! and the number one single "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick", one of the few Dury numbers suitable for daytime airplay. But the Blockheads were always better in the flesh; two decades on, live shows are a rarity and each one might be the last, which makes tonight's date at the Forum essential, whether or not you were there first time around.

Greg Wood

The Forum, 9-17 Highgate Rd, London NW5 (0171-344 0044)