Blessed & Blasted: Roots of the Anarchy Shirt part 1
My investigation into the multifarious strands which fed into the creation of the 1974 t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up has, in turn, ignited a convincing set of new theories about the genesis of another “manifesto” design, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s so-called Anarchy Shirt.
Harris argues that the appearance of the title “Point Blank” on You’re Gonna Wake Up is more likely to refer to the San Francisco Situationist cell Point-Blank! and it’s early 70s publications rather than John Boorman’s 1967 movie.
Given McLaren’s interest in, and involvement with, the London wing of the SI in the late 60s, this figures.
Among the literature produced by P-B! was a 1971 comic containing the above détournement (a familiar SI technique; here the characters in a True Romance-style cartoon strip pit Feminist thought against Situationist ideology) .
As you can see, one frame has the speech bubble: “All the revolutionaries are pretty”.
“Perhaps McLaren and Westwood’s riposte was: ‘Only anarchists are pretty’?” asks Harris, in reference to a slogan on one version of the couple’s Anarchy Shirt in 1976.
In the next two parts, Harris and I turn over the likely sources for particular text which appeared on both You’re Gonna Wake Up and the Anarchy Shirt, and he presents his ideas on the application of the various elements of the latter garment.
Roots of the Anarchy Shirt Part 2
Thanks to Derek Harris + Hiroshi Fujiwara for supplying these images from their archives.