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God Save The Sex Pistols

Happy Birthday Queen…We Mean It Maaaaan!

      Today is the birthday of Her Royal Tourist Industry, Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is now 84 and the oldest English monarch, you know, like, ever. It seems that advancements in modern medications have offered a Royal an extended lifetime since the days of the Tudors and the days of “leeching.” The Queen, who even if she weren’t 84, is little more than a national figurehead, although, of course, a huge source of tourist income to her nation’s pockets. I remember well the Silver Jubilee in 1977 marking her 25th year in “power.” Oh, it was all very patriotic: red, white, and blue bunting everywhere, images of her Royal Majesty on anything that you might be able to sell in a gift shop….ooh what a fuss they made.

Malcolm McLaren–Don’t trust this man with your money!

1977 was also the year that punk not only broke out, but spat in the face of the British establishment. It was a familiar story of rebellion that parents of every generation had heard from their kids before–but Punk was different. It was rude, in-your-face, and anarchic. It was just not very “British.” And in 1977, it was orchestrated by a man called Malcolm McLaren, who was the puppetmaster to a band of rogues: The Sex Pistols. McLaren masterminded a publicity campaign targeting all the stale established institutions that made England a miserable place to be for its disenfranchised youth in 1977, and as such, with his band, was vilified for it in the media.

      The funeral of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren (who passed away earlier this month from cancer) will be taking place in London tomorrow. He’ll be buried in Highgate Cemetery, current home to Karl Marx. If anyone could convince Karl Marx that Capitalism wasn’t all bad it would be Malcolm McLaren, who coined the phrase “CASH FROM CHAOS .”

The Sex Pistols–Love them or hate them, they woke up a nation

      Never the one to mind receiving attention, even in death, McLaren’s body will be transported via carriage in a funeral procession (worthy of a monarch) that will travel through Camden High Street, Chalk Farm Road, Ferdinand Street, Malden Road and Southampton Road, before ending at Highgate Cemetery. Observers along the procession route have been encouraged to display “a Minute of Mayhem” in honor of McLaren as he passes by, breaking the tradition of solemnity. (Minutes of silence are usually awkward things anyway that are usually interrupted by a sturdy coughing fit or a drunken heckle and are often replaced these days with “a minute of applause” especially at sporting events.)

        I don’t know why they didn’t schedule the funeral on the Queen’s birthday. It doesn’t make sense. McLaren went after the monarchy, and it would have been too perfect, one last parting two-fingered salute. Ridiculing the monarchy just wasn’t something you did publicly, even in 1977–but he and The Pistols did it. Although the days of a King or Queen decreeing a beheading for such things are long gone.

        Regardless of his riff with  John Lydon (who for the record I side with because, well he was the talent wasn’t he, and should have been rewarded accordingly) McLaren was important. Without his guidance, The Sex Pistols may not have been the force of nature that they were. Undoubtedly the music was there, but what separated them from the rest, was McLaren’s innate talent to market and keep the audience wanting more. And without the influence of The Sex Pistols, as history remembers them, music and fashion, as we know it today, would be entirely different.

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One Response

  1. Maybe the spirit sex pistols will be in New Orleans for the Jazz Fest.

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