Paul Gorman is…

Let It Rock: Malcolm McLaren at Art In Pop – work begins on building the show

Sep 19th, 2014
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//Positioning the 430 shop logos in the Malcolm McLaren room at Art In Pop. Photo: Magasin head of production Eric Pourcel//

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‘Black is the most exciting colour’ (Goya). Black when used in different ways appears the most infinite and mysterious, the most spatial and loose.
Malcolm McLaren, essay for course at Croydon Art School, 1967

It’s exciting. Work is underway on building the Art In Pop group exhibition which opens next month at Le Magasin, France’s National Centre for Contemporary Art in Grenoble.

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//McLaren’s first logo at 430 King’s Road was featured on the side of a 12m installation at Let It Rock at CIFF this summer. Foreground image of McLaren in Central Park, spring 1975, by Bob Gruen. Photo: Jean Francois Carly/Malcolm McLaren Estate//

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//The Too Fast To Live shop frontage in this 60 x 40″ blow-up at CIFF//

Featuring artworks by musicians such as Don Van Vliet and Daniel Johnstone as well as musical ventures by artists including John Armleder and John Miller, Art In Pop incorporates the sizeable space dedicated to Let It Rock, the show exploring the work of the late Malcolm McLaren.

This will focus on McLaren’s investigations into the visual arts from the 60s to his death in 2010 along with the engagements with commercial media such as fashion, film and music for which he is best known.

In line with Let It Rock’s manifestation at the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair this summer, the pink-on-black Let It Rock sign will be recreated, this time at the entrance to the Malcolm McLaren room.

For Art In Pop the sign is being matched by a giant reproduction of the shop logo which followed Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road: Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.

The dominant use of black behind these logos riffs on McLaren’s repeated use of the colour in his work and should make for an impactful introduction to the show, which will feature hundreds of exhibits from throughout the cultural iconoclast’s artistic life.

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//Founded in 1986, Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain is housed in an industrial hall built for the 1900 Paris World’s Fair by the workshops of Gustave Eiffel//

Art In Pop – which is curated by Magasin’s Yves Aupetitallot with John Armleder, Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate, John Miller and I – runs from Oct 11 to January 4, 2015 at Le Magasin, 8 esplanade Andry Farcy, 38028 Grenoble.

More info here.

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Zippo Records: 13th Floor Elevators mural, Cope’s Droolian LP, MC5′s motherfuckers tee + The Conqueroo Dog

Sep 18th, 2014
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//13th Floor Elevators mural inside Zippo Records, Clapham Park, south-west London, mid-80s, courtesy Pete Flanagan//

Pete Flanagan, owner of the long-gone Zippo Records in Clapham, south London, has sent me this photograph of the shop interior.

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//Front cover, Droolian, Julian Cope, Zippo/Mofoco, 1989//

It sums up everything that was wonderful about this unique space, where Pete established a hub for like-minded souls. With staff including Edwin Pouncey (aka Savage Pencil), Pete also released otherwise hard-to-find records via his own independent imprints. These included Heartland, 5 Hours Back and MoFoCo for Julian Cope’s towering LP Droolian.

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//Droolian’s back cover//

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//Zippo’s distinctive price label (this from The Many Faces Of Gale Garnett, an obscure 1965 release on RCA)//

I bought a lot of music and also an example of every one of the short-run t-shirts Zippo sold, including my favourite, this MC5 number (other owners, and there can’t be many because they were printed in very limited numbers, include Bobby Gillespie).

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As a local I was a Zippo regular with our Battersea hound Tom. Pete christened him “The Conqueroo Dog” after the four-legged friend on the cover of his reissue of the Austin band’s 1968 release From The Vulcan Gas Company.

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//Front cover, From The Vulcan Gas Company, The Conqueroo, 1968/reissued 1987 on 5 Hours Back//

When Zippo closed I bought a whole load of stock and had a few happy years trading in vinyl as a sideline, until my back gave out.

Pete’s still at it, running Soho Music which is now on eBay – see here.

I bumped into Edwin P a couple of years back; he was in the company of another great person who was also a former Zippo staffer. Can’t for the life of me recall his name but hopefully he’ll see this and get in touch.

See what Savage Pencil is up to here.

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Henry Hate curating Amy Winehouse show

Sep 18th, 2014

henryOur pal Henry Hate is London’s tattooist of choice.

Henry’s also a prolific visual artist, and his interests combine in his curation of the forthcoming charity exhibition When I Walk In Your Shoes, which opens at Notting Hill’s Westbank Gallery on Monday.

The subject of the group show is Henry’s late friend and customer Amy Winehouse. Named after a line from her song Help Yourself, When I Walk In Your Shoes runs from September 26 – 30 at 133-137 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RS.

More details here.

Find out more about Henry ‘s Prick Tattoo here.

 

 

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Hiroshi Fujiwara loaning Anarchy Shirt originally owned by Jon Savage for Malcolm McLaren room at Art In Pop

Sep 6th, 2014
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//”An inspired collage”. Section of Anarchy Shirt bought by Jon Savage at Seditionaries. Hiroshi Fujiwara Collection//

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//Savage wearing the shirt for an interview on 1983′s “Positive Punk” movement for British TV//

Preparations are well underway for the next phase of the Malcolm McLaren exhibition: a room dedicated to the late cultural iconoclast’s work as a visual artist at group show Art In Pop, which opens next month at France’s National Centre Of Contemporary Art space Magasin in Grenoble.

Art In Pop will also feature rooms dedicated to paintings by the late Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) and documentation of the artist John Miller’s exploits in music with the likes of Tony Conrad, Kim Gordon, Mike Kelley, Takuji Kogo and Thurston Moore.

And there will also be artworks by such musicians as the late Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, Daniel Johnston, Cris Kirkwood of The Meat Puppets, David Thomas of Pere Ubu and Mayo Thompson of The Red Crayola.

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//Life In Hell, Daniel Johnston, 1998. Felt pen and paper, 21.5 x 28cm, courtesy Arts Factory//

//Alix Lambert is featured on this 2008 Buckethead track//

These will be exhibited with pieces by artists who have investigated music, including John Armleder (who will be showing a work created with Genesis Breyer P. Orridge and Alan Vega), David Bowes, Alix Lambert (creator of 90s fictional all-girl punk band Platipussy, described as an “oestregen-powered Spinal Tap), Randy Ludacer, Tony Oursler and Greg Parma Smith.

The Malcolm McLaren element of Art In Pop will include many of the exhibits displayed at Let It Rock in Copenhagen this summer along with some exciting additions which I will be previewing here over the coming weeks.

Among them will be paintings produced by McLaren as an art student in the 60s as well as an original example of one of the most “painterly” works McLaren created with Vivienne Westwood: The Anarchy Shirt.

This is being loaned by fashion guru and musician Hiroshi Fujiwara, who has one of the most important collections of McLaren & Westwood designs in the world.

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//”An extraordinary package of compressed content”. Hiroshi Fujiwara Collection//

The shirt is a fine example of the extraordinary design first introduced in September 1976, and was originally owned by writer and cultural commentator Jon Savage.

“I bought it in late 1978 from Seditionaries,” says Savage. “It had a swastika applique which I immediately took off, not wishing to be the bearer of that particular insignia.”

Savage has described the Anarchy shirt as McLaren & Westwood’s “masterpiece… an inspired collage, using second hand clothes, craft and revolutionary slogans – an extraordinary package of compressed content”.

Art In Pop – which is curated by Magasin’s Yves Aupetitallot with John Armleder, me, Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate and John Miller – is at Magasin from October 11 to January 4 2015.

Details here.

Here is the first part of the 1983 Positive Punk documentary, shown as part of ITV’s South Of Watford strand (Savage appears towards the end of this segment):

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John Hilliard: Not Black And White at Richard Saltoun Gallery

Sep 4th, 2014
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//1, 2, 3, 2004. Giclée Iris print on museum board. 91 x 120cm//

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//Black Depths (1), 1974. Black and white print and Letraset on museum board, 2 parts. 72 x 72cm//

Looking forward to Not Black And White, a retrospective exhibition of work by British conceptual photographic artist John Hilliard which opens tonight at London’s Richard Saltoun Gallery.
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Trouble at the Met: Status of half of the punk collection downgraded but dubious designs continue to toxify Costume Institute collection

Sep 2nd, 2014
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//Dubious. Photo removed from the Met’s website but this T-shirt – like dozens more questionable garments – remains listed in the Costume Institute collection. The listing has been changed to “Attributed to” McLaren & Westwood; previously it was described as an authentic and original example of one of their designs//

A cop-out?

Or another step towards cleaning house at one of the most prestigious fashion collections in the world?

Only time will tell but the reclassification of the status of more than 30 highly collectable and expensive punk garments in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute collection signals a decline in confidence in the authenticity of a great deal of clothing which until recently was proudly proclaimed as original examples of the 70s designs of the late Malcolm McLaren and Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Effectively the museum has downgraded its crucial assurance of provenance for the clothes, which represent around half of the McLaren & Westwood punk fashions in the Met archive; for years they were officially recorded as original, authenticated designs but now Met staff have inserted the phrase “attributed to” into dozens of listings in the collection and on its website.

This follows removal of photography of disputed items from the website along with recommendations to start debugging the collection by deleting offending clothing by “de-accessioning” (the process by which a work is removed from the Met’s collection for sale or disposal*).

By taking these actions, the Met is communicating that it can no longer provide absolute guarantees for clothes for which it paid top dollar and featured prominently in such Gala Ball-led extravaganzas as 2006′s Anglomania: Tradition & Transgression In British Fashion and last year’s Punk: Chaos To Couture.

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//Photography of the Parachute Shirt on the left (seen here paired with a John Galliano creation for the press preview of the Met’s 2013 exhibition Punk: Chaos To Couture) has been removed from the Met website with the archival status officially downgraded to “Attributed to” McLaren & Westwood//

The majority of the Met’s punk acquisitions occurred in 2006, when it bought nearly 50 garments purporting to be McLaren & Westwood originals, using funds from three official sources: The Richard Martin Bequest (named for the late historian and CI curator), The Friends Of The Costume Institute Gifts and NAMSB Foundation Inc.

At this time, before a series of alarms over counterfeiting rocked the market for these designs, each would have fetched upwards of £1,000 – £5,000. Many of the problematic items of clothing at the Met stem from this period.

In May 2013 I visited the museum and reviewed the collection of 1972-1980 designs by McLaren & Westwood. In the report I delivered to the Met last summer, I expressed the opinion – and outlined in detail the reasons why I believe – that an embarrassingly large number of the clothes are indeed fake. Several more are at the very least questionable, and at the time of my visit many were misdated and misattributed.

During the review I encountered easily fixed but nevertheless egregious mistakes: the archival listings credited each of the designs solely to Westwood, for example, and inexplicably it is her name alone which remains on the title page for each (the museum does not credit Dolce without Gabbana for example).

There were many howlers. A few examples: Sex and Seditionaries logo t-shirts featuring Westwood’s Red Label (launched 1993) were mistakenly allocated to the partnership in the 70s; a version of Westwood’s t-shirt rant about Derek Jarman’s film Jubilee was dated 1976 (two years before the film was made); and Too Fast To Live To Young To Die clothes were attributed to the late 70s (the store’s incarnation was 1972-74).

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//One of two Vivienne Westwood Red label 90s shirts until recently claimed by the Met to be original McLaren/Westwood 70s designs//

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//The bondage trousers on the mannequin in the foreground of this tableau from the Met’s 2006 Anglomania exhibition were designated in the show and catalogue to “Seditionaries, McLaren/Westwood, 1977-78″. They are – as the label inside clearly indicates – Westwood Red label (which was launched in 1993). Meanwhile the photography for the You’re Gonna Wake Up t-shirt on the mannequin lying bottom right has been removed from the Met website and the listing is among those which now has the caveat “attributed to” in the description//

Some were dead giveaways: for example an unusual leather jacket with a Worlds End Born In England label was dated 1979, a year before the label was even launched, a strange black version of the 1978 Gimp Mask/Union Jack t-shirt was (and continues to be) dated 1974, and a pair of Westwood Red-labelled black bondage trousers were mistakenly featured as originals, dated 1977-78 in the Met’s 2006 show Anglomania.

As of this week, these trousers are now dated to 1976 (17 years before the label which they bear was created) in the collection and on the Met website. Meanwhile photography of a Seditionaries-labelled Parachute Shirt which features poorly conceived elements migrated from the Anarchy Shirt design and a patch of Josef Stalin (this was never applied by McLaren & Westwood to their work**) has also been pulled from the website though once again the item remains in the collection.

In another example I pointed out that a Vive Le Rock!/Punk Rock Disco t-shirt purporting to have been sold at Seditionaries bore a tag for the US manufacturer Hanes. I have since established that this shirt was one of a batch produced in London in 1984, four years after Seditionaries closed and McLaren & Westwood ceased producing the design.

Last autumn and winter others with knowledge of the field were invited to give their views; I was informed these largely coincided with mine. In March this year the museum marked two tartan bondage suits with Seditionaries labels – one of which also featured prominently in the Anglomania show and catalogue – for de-accession.

Six months later, as of today (September 2), these bondage suits remain in the collection.

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//Jacket of bondage suit marked for de-accession by the Met in March 2014. Photography on website on September 1, 2014 with listing designation changed to “Attributed to”//

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//Jacket of bondage suit marked for de-accession by the Met in March 2014. Photography on website on September 1, 2014 with listing designation changed to “Attributed to”//

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//The bondage suit marked for de-accession featured in the frontispiece of the catalogue for the Met’s 2006 show Anglomania//

In March 38 garments were classified “pending further review” with the photographs removed from 31 of the listings on the Met website.

Among these are such dubious items as the t-shirt titled “And Sloppy” (see first image of this post) about which I wrote in my report:

“This is not in my opinion a design by McLaren & Westwood. The lack of skill in execution, weak placement, poor juxtaposition and banal content reveal a lesser hand. A smaller version of the pink playing card was used as a repeat print on another design. This appears to be a scan of that blown up and flouro-ed. The text comes from a 1977 article by Charles Shaar Murray in the New Musical Express; such clumsy appropriations are not aligned to the content choices made by McLaren and Westwood. It appears to be an attempt by migrating a familiar element from another work to create a one-off or rarity and thus counter the lack of documentary and anecdotal evidence as to its existence.”

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//”Attributed to…” The amended listing for “And Sloppy” with photography removed//

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//1990s VW Red label bondage trousers dated to 1976 on the Met website this week//

In April I wrote to Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton asking why such items were still featured on the Met website and remained in the collection. I also asked why the tartan bondage suits had not been de-accessioned but continued to be listed with full photography. He responded in May that the decision-making process continued and that the duration of the assessment could not be predicted.

Two weeks ago, I asked again why the Met had not taken steps to de-toxify the collection, since items such as “And Sloppy” and the Hanes shirt remain listed along with the two tartan bondage suits selected for de-accession. I have received confirmation of receipt of my inquiries but no responses to my questions.

It is evident that behind-the-scenes activity has been taking place of late, with the museum hastily altering the listings and inserting “Attributed to…” for the 31 items, which include “And Sloppy”, the Hanes Vive Le Rock! and the tartan bondage suits along with the problematic Parachute Shirt, the Jarman t-shirt, a mohair sweater and two pairs of Seditionaries boots.

But this solution raises more questions than it answers:

• By who are these clothes now attributed to McLaren & Westwood?

• It is reasonable to infer from the insertion of “Attributed to” that there is now a margin of doubt at the Met that these were made by McLaren & Westwood or under their direction; if they were made by others, without McLaren & Westwood’s involvement, how does the museum explain the presence of original-looking labels?

• The presence of this labelling on the clothing further magnifies the difficulties for the Met; either these are original garments designed by McLaren & Westwood or they are not. Which is it, since “Attributed to” is apparently meaningless in this context?

• What of the vendors who sold these as original, authentic items; since they are no longer accepted as such, will the vendors be required to return the payments which they received?

• Since this denotes the museum’s acceptance that 30-odd items of clothing are seriously open to question, why has it opted for this fudge rather than de-accessioning them all?

I have written to the museum again seeking answers and anticipate a response once New York wakes up after the Labor Day holiday.

It is to be hoped that the Met’s move presages a clean-sheet stance to this material with progress to de-accessioning of toxic garments. In this way the museum may regain credibility after what appears to be a series of potentially costly failures in collecting materials for arguably the world’s greatest fashion archive.

* According to the Met’s collection principles “the Museum may deaccession but generally does not dispose of works determined to be forgeries. Curatorial departments generally retain these works for study purposes or seek the Director’s permission to destroy the objects, unless it can be determined that disposal can be accomplished in a responsible manner without confusion to a possible buyer. Works incorrectly attributed or dated may be de-accessioned, provided that the new information or attribution is provided”.

** In a New Yorker piece decades later, McLaren wrote about the creation of punk fashions and mistakenly mentioned Stalin instead of Karl Marx, whose image appeared on patches on the partnership’s Anarchy Shirt. He regretted this error when shirts bearing Stalin’s image were  subsequently circulated. 

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Sleevenotes: “Jumping Jesus, my old man was brilliant. It’s back for another scream in the closet” Ki-Longfellow Stanshall for the PoppyDisc reissue of Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead

Sep 1st, 2014

beasht“What’s to say, save that his contempt was not reserved solely for the music business? Or the art business. Or the business of being human. There were times when he saw with his own dead eyes. But he had the sight to see through them.”

K-LS on the album’s opening track Afoju Ti Ole Riran (Dead Eyes)

Ki-Longfellow Stanshall’s sleevenotes for the 2012 reissue of the lost classic Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead are stunning, filled with anguish and joy, rather like the life and work of the LP’s creator, her much-missed partner Vivian Stanshall.

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I treasure my vinyl copy, put out with much love by my old mucker Joe Foster, and heartily recommend the Afro-flavoured grooves Stanshall brewed up back in 1974 with such fellow legends as Reebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Neil Innes, Gaspar Lawal and Steve Winwood.

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//The PoppyDisc reissue recreates the sleeve artwork of the Warner 1974 release: Cover drawing by Peter Till//

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//Back cover of original release. Photo: Barrie Wentzell//

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Buy a copy of PoppyDisc’s vinyl reissue of Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead here.

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Short film about the Malcolm McLaren exhibition in Copenhagen

Aug 28th, 2014

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This short film gives a flavour of Let It Rock, the exhibition about Malcolm McLaren’s engagement with fashion in the 70s and 80s curated by Young Kim and I in Copenhagen earlier this month.

We are interviewed along with Kristian Andersen, Copenhagen International Fashion Fair fashion and design director, and our co-exhibitor, US streetwear designer Virgil Abloh.

Crystal Hall – Malcolm McLaren & Virgil Abloh – August 2014 from CIFF on Vimeo.

Film credits:
Produced by: Goodwind Studio
Editor: Janne Villadsen
Edit by: Mathias Nyholm Schmidt and Simon Weyhe
Music: Stanley Krubix

See also here.

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Worlds End: Norah Waugh, the 31 bus, Daniel Defoe, Black-Beard The Pyrate, Thomas Tew and the origins of the Saracen sword logo

Aug 28th, 2014
WEbrooch copy

//Worlds End brooch, 1981//

The skull and crossbones was too much of a cliche. In a book from Foyle’s in Charing Cross Road I found the drawing of the pirate Blackbeard, Captain Teach, with his arm holding a Saracen sword. Malcolm McLaren, 2008.

Over the spring and summer of 1980, the late Malcolm McLaren worked with Vivienne Westwood on the themes and theories underpinning the concepts for a new retail environment and fresh fashion direction from their base at 430 King’s Road in west London’s World’s End.

Disillusioned with the pedestrian punks who had started to frequent Seditionaries in the wake of the Sex Pistols split in 1978, the outlet was routinely shuttered. “Apart from a few t-shirts, we didn’t come up with any new designs in four years,” Westwood later said.

The pair’s investigations in 1979 and 1980 crystallised around Westwood’s production of a billowing garment based on an 18th century shirt pattern from the historian Norah Waugh’s 1964 study The Cut Of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900.

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//1981 Pirate dress worn in performance by Anabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow//

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//Pirate dress collar and neckline detail//

McLaren had already introduced notions of music industry-provoking audio piracy into his work with the newly-formed Bow Wow Wow – who released their cassette-only debut single that summer – and pounced upon the shirt’s promisingly unstructured silhouette.

“I could see it being worn as a dress by the young paramour of a pirate captain, romping around his quarters with his belt, one of his waistcoats and a pair of his sagging buckled boots,” McLaren said in the mid-00s. “I rejected the rest of Vivienne’s ideas but kept the shirt, to which I added the vision of pirates to give a certain look, style and pop panache. We then built the Pirate collection around it.”

The choice of the garment is noteworthy. According to Waugh (who had lectured at London’s Central School Of Art and run the costume department at the dramaturg Michel Saint-Denis’ London Theatre Studio in the 30s), men’s tailoring did not start in Britain until the end of the 18th century; prior to that “men’s clothes had a distinctly dressmaker quality”.

By rejecting two centuries of fashion progress – just as they had rejected the pop culture developments of the 60s with the establishment of Let It Rock in 1971 – and fusing the results with the utterly contemporary, McLaren and Westwood once again moved into unexpected territory with clothing which struck a chord outside of fashion and music.

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//The Pirate shirt makes the cover of UK Vogue, May 1981, the first issue to celebrate the new spirit of romanticism exemplified by the public fascination for royal bride-to-be Lady Diana Spencer. Photo: Alex Chatelain//

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//Worlds End self-striped Pirate dress matched with petty-drawers and stockings on the female model in this shot from the spread Escape To The Sun, UK Vogue, May 1981. Photo: Alex Chatelain//

McLaren’s choice of name for the new iteration at 430 King’s Road came from the final destination on the front of the 31 bus; the last stop on the route was Limerston Street, just a few yards west of McLaren and Westwood’s shop.

“The thought of the world ending, the apocalyptic, suggested to me the potential for cultural change,” said McLaren in 2008. “I thought Worlds End (note absence of apostrophe) could do that by having a clock that went backwards around not twelve, but thirteen hours -  something impossible to conceive. Something unreal. Something magical.

1. BLOW UP WorldsEnd exteriorSheilaRock

//Exterior, 430 King’s Road, January 1981. Photo (c) Sheila Rock//

“Worlds End was meant to represent a pirate galleon setting sail out of this muddy hole called England, a place I had learned to loathe by then due to the conditions I had to meet because of the English courts and the music industry generally.

“Vivienne wanted to destroy and not have anything further to do with Punk.  She hated it.  So, this store became a way of sailing away from the Kings Road. I wanted the store to ‘float’ as on waves.  The little windows in the front were to create that part of the galleon where the captain would often have his chambers.”   

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//The 1724 book is attributed to one of McLaren’s heroes, the original Seditionary Daniel Defoe//

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//From A General History Of Pyrates. Illustrations: Benjamin Cole//

When developing a logotype and label ident for the new collection, McLaren resorted as ever to research. At Foyle’s bookshop he came across a copy of A General History Of Pyrates, the highly entertaining 1724 volume by Captain Charles Johnson which is attributed to Daniel Defoe. The author of Robinson Crusoe, one of McLaren’s favourite books, Defoe had lived not far from where McLaren was born in Stoke Newington.

Famously Defoe was pilloried in 1703 for seditious libel over his satirical pamphlet The Shortest Way With Dissenters; it was this archaic charge which inspired the name McLaren gave to 430 King’s Road in 1976.

One of the chapters of the Johnson book is dedicated to the exploits of Edward Teach, the notorious Black-Beard The Pyrate whose appearance excited McLaren’s interest: “The beard was black, which he suffered to grow of an extravagant length…and was accustomed to twist it with ribbons, in small tails. In time of action he stuck lighted matches under his hat which burned slowly at the rate of about 12 inches an hour.

“Appearing on each side of his face, his eyes looking naturally fierce and wild, made him altogether such a figure that imagination cannot form an idea of a Fury from Hell to look more frightful. In the commonwealth of Pirates he who goes the greatest length of wickedness is looked upon with a kind of envy amongst them.”

General_History_of_the_Pyrates_-_Blackbeard_the_Pirate_(1725)

//Another illustration of Teach clutching his Saracen sword//

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//Detail of arm with Saracen sword//

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//Anne Bonny also sported the same weapon//

In the illustrations by Benjamin Cole, the fearsome figure is shown with one muscular arm holding a Saracen sword, a weapon also favoured for its deadly properties by the likes of the infamous Anne Bonny.

As McLaren/Westwood afficianado Stuart Swift has pointed out, the logo was taken directly from the flag of another subject of A General History Of Pyrates: the privateer-turned-pirate Thomas Tew, who traded in gold, silver, jewels and slaves and is alleged to have founded the Madagascan pirate colony Libertalia (where he appointed himself Admiral). While Blackbeard’s story fascinated McLaren, the pirate’s standard – the skeleton of the devil  raising a toast as he pierces a heart – lacked the impact of Tew’s.

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//Engraving of Blackbeard showing from A General History Of Pyrates//

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//Blackbeard’s standard, from tattoodonkey.com//

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//Thomas Tew flag from only-flags.com//

This symbol of romantic rebellion was then applied to labels, brooches and even the clock spinning backwards outside 430 King’s Road when Worlds End opened at the end of 1980.

Johnson’s book also produced a name for the first Worlds End collection; a vessel commanded by these desperate men and women is designated “the Pirate”, as in: “I followed their advice and went on board the Pirate…” This is why the clothing produced by McLaren and Westwood in the first part of 1981 is grouped under the singular.

Watch the BBC’s 1985 documentary To The World’s End – about the great lost 31 bus route – here.

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Promo curio: Diana Crawshaw and the Granny Takes A Trip Dodge in Tim Rose clip

Aug 19th, 2014
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//Still from Long Haired Boy: Diana Crawshaw outside 488 King’s Road, 1969//

Diana Crawshaw – who designed for such boutiques as Mr Freedom and Paradise Garage – has contacted me about an appearance she made in an early pop promo clip: Piers Bedford’s short for the 1968 single Long Haired Boy by American singer-songwriter Tim Rose.

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