Friday, 9 April 2010


There's sad news this week with the passing of three renowned Englishmen. Actors Corin Redgrave and Christopher Casenove passed away this week, followed by the sad news of Malcolm McLaren's death yesterday aged 64. 

Malcolm McLaren was a formidable character who revolutionised pop culture,  brought anarchy to the UK and in the 70's brought about the punk phenomenon. It started with Malcolm McLaren opening a clothes shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea in partnership with an up and coming designer called Vivienne Westwood. They renamed the shop 'Sex' and started a following of mainly fetish-inspired clothes. Around this time, Malcolm started managing the New York Dolls band and saw the possibility of starting a UK band in the same genre. The Sex Pistols were born and Britain's music scene and youth were never the same again. 

It was loud, vulgar, anti-establishment, anti-this and anti-that. It was rebellious and revolutionary music and was the new rock n'roll. It was a great time to be young and to hear such original music which your parents hated.  Some of it was crap, most of it was great. I still have many vinyl albums from that time and count the Sex Pistols 'Never Mind the Bollocks..' and 'London Calling' by the Clash as two of my favourite albums of all time. I was indeed very lucky to see Joe Strummer and the Clash as a young kid being taken along by my cousin. The energy from the pogo-ing and the sweat and heat in the auditorium was palpable and immensely exciting. 

I doubt we will ever see the like of Malcolm McLaren again where one person orchestrates such a phenomenal change in popular culture, fashion and music. Today's music is schmaltzy, over-produced, lip syncing, Simon Cowell-inspired drivel. Occasionally we get brilliance. More often we get mediocracy. I somehow doubt that in 30 years time, people will still be wearing Cheryl Cole cut away trousers, or JLS matching jeans and hoodies. It is a great testament to Malcolm McLaren that punks are still very much around with their particular brand of clothing, mohican hairdos  and multi piercings. I still love the fact that Blackpool holds a Punk Convention Week where the town reverts to the 70's and is inundated with Sid Snotts, Nancy Spungens and Sid Vicious lookalikees. 

Malcolm McLaren gave us God Save The Queen, Anarchy in the UK and Friggin in the Riggin and for that, most people of my generation shall be eternally grateful...

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