MALCOLM MCLAREN

8 April 2010

[Picture of Malcolm McLaren]I just read on the Internet that impresario Malcolm McLaren died aged just 64. It was cancer. I am now genuinely very sad; I always admired him.

He has been massively important in helping to form the world we all inhabit.  I always kept my radar out for what he was up to next, so I’ll miss that.

I grew up with eccentrics like Ken Russell, Magnus Pike, Patrick Moore, David Bellamy, Viv Stanshall  and loads more. McLaren and Westwood were eccentric — our generation’s eccentrics.  There’s nothing wrong with being crazy if you have the talent behind it — and Malcom did.

I met him once in London a zillion years ago.  When I say that, I mean that I was near him, nearby.  We didn’t chat or anything, but I was close enough for quite a while to see him talk and gesture and think aloud and direct — and I could see what it was about the man. It was like meeting Oscar Wilde or something! Very Theatrical, Very fabulous and Very very!

I think what shocked me tonight more than anything is that he struck me as full of zest and vim, brim full of ideas and grand schemes. He had opinions and expressed them in a certain way — and that is to be admired in itself for we live in a world of political correctness and spin, and so rarely see anything quite so eccentric as personal truth, ridicule (in the classic French sense), and sheer wit.

Everyone will be reading of the Sex Pistols, The New York Dolls, Vivienne Westwood, Bow Wow Wow, Adam and the Ants, Double Dutch, Vogue, Buffalo Gals, blah, blah, blah. But McLaren was smart, he was talented, image-wise, market-savvy and had a special sixth sense of where the envelope and boundaries were (and where they ought to be moved to).

I would say that with the whole punk thing, McLaren was as Ché and you can get.  The man changed the world in a few months. Clothes, politics, attitude, music.  He allowed the poor, the working class, the unemployed, the lower orders  some expression, a real voice — not fantasy, not drugs, not hippy love opt outs, not buy-in to the establishment that was failing us all.

I’m serious about this. McLaren really did change the entire world.  I didn’t mind punk and the Sex Pistols, I was OK about techno and vogue stuff, I rather liked Waltz Darling (starting with Flaming June on the cover) and Paris (the Jazz of it all – and I do love Paris), but really, most of all I saw the sheer impact he made, I appreciated what he was doing, what he did, how he did it — how he had to do it, and I really do hope that someday he is recognised (along with Westwood).

What he did, he did in a different era — he did the impossible, and that is something difficult to appreciate with the comfiness of the here and now and hindsight.

I admit that I personally know a lot of people who have not liked him, but secretly, that is a big plus for the man in my view; love him or hate him, he did more than most with his life.  I would say he kicked the eggs out of the status quo, the normal, the establishment.  There is before-McLaren and after-McLaren. Simple as that!

RIP Malcolm McLaren.

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3 Responses to “MALCOLM MCLAREN”


  1. […] used strong imagery too — ransom note styles and punk fashion thanks to Malcolm McLaren. Comic book covers were getting sophisticated with fantasy art images by the likes of Boris […]


  2. […] To cap it all, the band were also closely associated with fashion designers, and the rise of the “supermodel”. They were on mark in the same way and at the same time as Basquiat and Haring, doing a lot of the same things as Madonna and Malcolm Mclaren. […]


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