"This thing is not meant to be read ... it's for soaking in glue and sniffin'."
Sniffin' Glue and other Rock 'n' Roll Habits for Punks 1 was a short lived but nevertheless extremely influential and much imitated British punk fanzine which ran from July 1976 to September 1977.
"I bought the Ramones on import and it completely blew me away."
Sniffin' Glue was the creation of Mark Perry aka Mark P, a bank clerk from Deptford in London. Inspired by the recent live performances of The Ramones in London during July 1976, Mark wandered into the Rock On record stall in Soho Market, got into a conversation with the managers, showed them the first Ramones album and asked "Is there a magazine for this?". "Well, not really, you'll have to start your own one" they replied, and so Mark P went home and did just that.
With the fanzine title inspired by the song "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" from The Ramones first album, the first issue was put together on a children's typewriter he had received on his tenth birthday, with the headlines and titles written in black marker pen. Mark's then girlfriend, Louise took it to work and ran off fifty photocopies. Rock On bought all fifty copies and ordered more and helped Mark establish other sales outlets for the magazine.
Being the first and at the time only punk fanzine, Sniffin' Glue soon found a ready market amongst fans of the emerging British Punk movement who appeared undeterred by the fact that the first issue devoted much space to a consideration of the back catalogue of the Blue Oyster Cult. This was partly because of the lack of any British punk bands to write about, a deficiency that was soon remedied as bands such as The Damned, The Clash and The Sex Pistols emerged.
"Caroline took me to see the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club
and my life was changed forever the second the band took the stage."
Issue 3 included photographs for the first time, and by issue 4 Sniffin' Glue was attracting advertising and Mark P felt able to leave his job at Williams and Glyns Bank. But despite commercial success, Mark P never changed the initial amateurish typography and design of the fanzine which he retained as deliberate celebration of the do-it-yourself ethic that was predominant in the early days of Punk. A total of at least fourteen issues were eventrually published, being, numbers 1 to 12 inclusive, number 3 1/2 (the 100 Club Punk Festival special) and Sniffin' Snow the Christmas 1976 special.2
By the summer of 1977 Mark P had other demands on his time. Having established his own record label Step Forward Records with Miles Copeland and formed his own band Alternative TV, Mark placed the editorship of issue 9 in the hands of his friend Steve Micaleh aka Steve Mick but he was soon sacked for intellectualism and trying to get his girlfriend involved in the magazine. Mark returned to edit issue 10, with number 11 edited by a collective including Danny Baker, Sandy Robertson, Savage Pencil and others.
"When the Clash signed to CBS I was devastated."
The final issue of Sniffin' Glue was published in August\September 1977 and included a free flexi disc of Alternative TV playing "Love Lies Limp". By now Punk was rapidly becoming mainstream and rather than allow Sniffin' Glue to simply become just another magazine Mark decided to call it a day.
"Punk had become the new rock hierarchy...
I thought, My God what have we done?"
1 The full and original title was only used for issues 1 and 2. Afterwards it became variously, 'for Girls', 'for the New Wave' etc etc as the fancy took.
2 According to issue 12 there were a total of fifteen issues published, the extra issue being number 7 1/2. This is not however reproduced in the Sanctuary Publishing compendium and Mark Perry's website now refers to only fourteen issues. This is likely because no copy of issue 7 1/2 has survived and Mark has simply forgotten about it.
- Sniffin' Glue: The Essential Punk Accessory (Sanctuary Publishing, 2000)