Buzzcocks ‘Boredom’ being used on Sainsburys AdvertDoes this mean we won or lost the punk revolution?

Of course it sounds great- like a razor blade slashing through the fug of  TV, ahem, boredom. That guitar riff, Howard’s genius lyrics sneered in that fantastic whine- arguably the perfect punk single. At the time no label would release it so they invented punk rock DIY by putting it out themselves- an act that changed everything for many of us.


The victory is that what was considered avante garde is now mainstream, what was once outsider art is now a Sainsburys soundtrack. Of course it’s showbiz and you got to get paid- we are all prostitutes and this website is covered in ads and we all have to take the poisoned dollar- for me the song is untainted, beautiful and still perfect…what do you think?


It’s not the most obvious choice but Buzzcocks punk class ic, Boredom, is being used on a Sainsburys Advert.

Quite what the cutting and quite brilliantly sarcastic 1977 ode to the delights of boredom combined with a sardonic sneer at punk rock cliche and armed with the great 2 note guitar solo has to do with a supermarket giant is a touch baffling.

Perhaps one of then Buzzcocks vocalist Howard Devoto’s finest lyrics the song really captures the fast forward of the time and is as bafflingly brilliant now as it was then- what is has to do with selling fish fingers is another matter but at least the band get paid, unlike at the time when no major label would go near them for their abrasive sound- ironic when you consider it now sits sort of near the mainstream- a mainstream that will still shun modern bands making similar abrasive music…oh well, as Howard so deliciously sang all those years ago ‘b’dum, b’dum…’

Just checked through the lyrics and there does not seem to be much about selling food in there!

Boredom lyrics

Yeah – well – I say what I mean
I say what comes to my mind
I never get around to things
I live a straight – straight line

You know me – I’m acting dumb
you know the scene – very humdrum
boredom – boredom

I’m living in this movie
but it doesn’t move me
I’m the man that’s waiting for the phone to ring
Hear it ring-a-ding-a-f***ing-ding

You know me …

You see there’s nothing behind me
I’m already a has-been
my future ain’t what it was
well I think I know the words that I mean

You know me …

B’dum – b’dum

I’ve taken this extravagant journey
so it seems to me
I just came from nowhere
and I’m going straight back there

You know me …

So I’m living in this movie
but it doesn’t move me
so tell me who are you trying to arouse?
get your hands out of my trousers

You know me …

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Great track but wierd how all these punk classics are turning up on advertisments.
    Here Comes The Summer (Undertones) & Into The Valley (Skids) turning up on Halfords ads,
    what next Johnny Rotten himself selling butter ??

  2. its extremely unlikely these us of old tracks makes anyone any money other than the label trying to recoup or to songwriters and publishers

    its extremely unlikely that the band had any right of approval on synch rights from the recording side or publishing side – ppl have realsied this which is why a ton of odd tracks have started appearing in ads – or as my friend claire said, there are people involved in the creation of the ads that now can put their fave songs into ads for the fuck of it

  3. I really do hope the band get a significant amount of royalties from Stainsburys and think “Fuck ’em” all the way to the bank. I’m waiting for the day when some arsehole ad exec decides a Crass track would be a good idea for the new M&S campaign.

  4. this for me was also the perfect punk diy single and far removed from the fashion punk of london which makes it more surprising,it being used by sainsburys.i think what’s happened here is some young marketing person has been going through their parents old record collection and thought i wonder if they’d let me use ‘boredom’ could i get away with it?would they go for it? hopefully they will make a few bob from it.. b’dum b’dum

  5. How about Slaughter and the Dogs, ‘Where have all the Boot Boys Gone’ for a Clarkes Ad? or ‘Cranked Up Really High’ for Nescafe?

  6. I am pleased to see that Martin Hannett’s production still lives today. I was in the studio when this EP was recorded. The band too deserve this success. When at university studying a popular music course in MCR we took note that ‘the revolutionaries are on cbs- – a slogan during the viet nam war. What was marginalised was incorporated for corporate money men. The same thing stands for Buzzcocks being used to sell food!

    • did you know that the ad was art directed by Martin Hannett’s brother, Mike? As soon as I first saw the ad I wondered if it was one of his! The copywriter is a Mancunian too….

  7. Excuse me, but I was a London Punk, still a schoolgirl at the time and, believe me, none of us had money for ‘fashion’. Errr, that’s why I was wearing a bin bag as a dress. Am I missing something here….. Anyway, their best stuff was on Spiral Scratch. IMHO. B’dum, b’dum indeed.


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