Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Malcolm McLaren and Princess Pegleg.

It was sad to hear of Malcolm McLaren’s passing. As manager of, first, The New York Dolls and, later, creator of the monster that was The Sex Pistols, he proved himself to be a great English impresario in the mode …

Fri, Apr 9, 2010, 17:59

   

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It was sad to hear of Malcolm McLaren’s passing. As manager of, first, The New York Dolls and, later, creator of the monster that was The Sex Pistols, he proved himself to be a great English impresario in the mode of Binkie Beaumont, Tyrone Guthrie or (tending towards the less obtuse) Brian Epstein. He also managed to deliver at least two great singles in his own name: Buffalo Girls and Soweto.

There was, however, a grisly irony to the way his death was announced. “No future for you” the Pistols famously sang to the Queen and, presumably, the extended British Royal Family. Yet, on last night’s BBC1 News, Princess Camilla of Horsetershire breaking her left fetlock was regarded as more significant than the death of a genuinely game-changing cultural figure. Certainly, that news story was reported ahead of the piece on McLaren’s passing. The snootier papers — The Telegraph and The Mail — carried a photograph of Camilla over one of our Malcolm.

Now, I suspect McLaren would be amused rather than infuriated by all this. After all, God Save the Queen was hardly a reasoned argument for republican democracy. It was, rather, a crude, abrasive — and rather brilliant — exercise in taunting the bourgeoisie. These days, he’d encourage the team to write a song abusing Nigella Lawson or Steve Jobs. That’d really set pulses racing in today’s upmarket suburbs.

At any rate, it’s grim to lose one more figurehead from the most important youth movement of the past 40 years. Get pissed. Destroy.

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