Friday, April 09, 2010

RIP Malcolm McLaren

He was only 64 and died of mesothelioma.
Mr. McLaren was a keen student of the French Situationists, who believed in staging absurdist or provocative incidents as a spur to social change

This is the first I've heard of the French Situationists. That sounds like a movement with konagod written all over it!

I also respect McLaren for his keen business sense.

In 1972 Mr. McLaren and Ms. Westwood took over a store on King’s Road in Chelsea called Let It Rock and began selling hipster Teddy boy fashions. The business was run along unconventional lines.

In a 1997 article for The New Yorker, Mr. McLaren recalled, “We set out to make an environment where we could truthfully run wild.” On most days the shop did not open until the evening and closed within a few hours. The goal, Mr. McLaren wrote, “was to sell nothing at all.”

Brilliant! Recession-proof!

Although I can't quite forgive him for stealing the Antz -- destroying what I considered to be a kick-ass obscure band -- to form the pop-oriented Bow Wow Wow, I still must mourn the passing of Malcolm McLaren. He was an integral player in what is still my favorite music genre of all time.

I was still in high school when the Sex Pistols toured the United States. I knew nothing about them other than what I read in the press, and needless to say, I'd never heard any of their music on the radio. But I was obsessed with the entire aura surrounding the Pistols, and the fact that a British band was coming to the states, behaving absurdly, and playing in a lot of redneck havens, like Tulsa. It was a carefully orchestrated worst tour of all-time! What's not to love?

By 1979 I made my first trip to London and promptly headed into a record store to pick up their album God Save the Queen, which unfortunately I would still not have an opportunity to hear for the first time until I was back in the States.

McLaren was a catalyst who shaped my future for at least seven years, culminating in the 14 months I spent living in London in the 1980s.

Thanks for that!

Adam and the Antz: Before McLaren set his sights on some key musicians.
(By the way, I have this single, same sleeve and everything!)

If you really want to hear them at their best, get your hands on a copy (also on CD) of Dirk Wears White Sox.

There's also a plethora of material on YouTube. I was shocked at the number of demo recordings and b-sides available, many of which I'd never heard until today.

And "this is fucking ridiculous."


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