Not so nice in Nice

History- Jet and the nice affair

Seven days in Nice, Jet’s new book about the Nice affair in the summer of 1980, has now arrived from the printers.Apologies to all who were hoping to get their hands on the book during the tour.  We are sorry we were unable to fulfil our planned earlier delivery.

At last, we now have stocks delivered and ready for despatch.  It is now available to buy from Mamstore.

To secure your copy, please click here.

We caught up with the author immediately before the March tour to interview him briefly about those legendary events.

Jet has written a detailed account of the events surrounding the riot and the band’s subsequent imprisonment on the French riviera in 1980.

During his extensive research for this project, he unearthed a huge amount of new information on the situation in Nice that summer. Unbeknowst to them, the band walked straight into the middle of a climate of local tension as they went onstage that night.

The rest is history…


Your new book is called Seven Days In Nice. Did it feel like the longest week of your life?

Not much doubt about that, at the time it seemed like forever.

Thirty years after the events on the French Riviera, why did you feel compelled to revisit the story in such detail?

Well first of all, I didn’t just start doing this 30 years later. I wanted to
find out the REAL unwritten story, and I’ve been at it for something like 25 years. I, with the help of some very faithful friends, set about getting into the French archives for the information. To cut a long story short, after trying all sorts of covert routes for info within France, finally, only last year, did we succeed in gaining access to the kind of data I was seeking. All the local sources in Nice were COMPLETELY un-cooperative and did everything they could to put me/us off the scent. It was a real battle. The reason for all this obstruction was political corruption, some of which we eventually uncovered.

Do you feel that the band were used as scapegoats in local issues between the university and the authorities?

Absolutely yes.

On the famous arrest photo, Hugh’s facial expression belies a resignation to his fate following his earlier spell in Pentonville whereas your face shows a sense of defiance. Did you consider incarceration to be just another part of the Stranglers’ adventure?

Well, in a silly sort of way yes. However, it was actually no laughing matter at all. They nearly got away with ‘framing’ us for what was nothing less than a cover-up of political ineptitude and corruption.

In hindsight, just how bad was the damage to the University campus?

Well you know, funny thing is, I never really got a good look at it. While the
students were smashing the place up, we were sitting in the crew minibus. When it ended, it was quite dark, with no lighting as I remember, and we left pretty much straight after that. I can only say that there did seem to be a great deal of broken glass everywhere and some palm trees seemed to be smouldering.

In court, a live tape of the gig was played as evidence of the band’s alledged inflammatory behaviour. Did you ever get a copy of the tape as it’s a holy grail out there for live tape collectors?

Unfortunately no. All I can say about the tape, is that we were told that it had been made by the university authorities (illegally!), so presumably it has the bit where I spoke to the crowd in English and JJ repeated in French. We could have had it thrown out of court when we got to the trial, but our lawyer OK’d it as we hadn’t incited the crowd to riot as they claimed. It’s all explained in the book.

Following your release, rather than cancelling the remaining dates on the European tour and returning home, you headed down to Italy for the final pair of gigs. Considering what you had been through in prison, why did the band not simply pull the rest of the tour?

The thought of not going back into the remainder of the tour didn’t enter our minds. We completed all the remaining gigs except one in Milan, where there was another incident – it looked for a moment like there was going to be a similar thing to Nice. But you’ll need to read the book for the rest of the story!!

Do you think that the Nice affair has harmed your career in France since or was it beneficial?

No doubt about that one, massively beneficial. It took a while though as we had an official ban slapped on us by a French judge, but we had the last laugh on that one, read the book!!

In the years since 1980, when you have returned to Nice, can you disassociate the city with the events of that summer?

Oh no, the minute I get anywhere near the place the memories come flooding back!

Arriving back in the UK after the furore…

Thanks very much to Jet for taking time out to do this interview during the run up to the Black and Blue tour…