I couldn’t not mention Malcolm McLaren’s death here. I can’t talk as eloquently about him as most other people can (one of the best things I’ve seen is that over at The Guardian and what Alan McGee said here) but I do want to say something.
I think I want to thank him. Not only for changing (shaping?) music and culture and for inspiring people. Not only for managing the Sex Pistols and kick starting punk. It’s bigger than that. It’s the people who have created wonderful, fresh, new art BECAUSE of what he did (there aren’t many great bands who won’t reference the Pistols as an influence now, are there? – and the Pistols wouldn’t have been the Pistols without Malcolm McLaren).
And I’m a result of that as well (though not nearly as good or important as most by a mile).
Discovering The Clash, aged fifteen (I think) changed me. It educated me and inspired me. Not only did they look and sound incredibly cool but the things they sang about were not things I’d have been exposed to or considered relevant before. They gave context to what I’d learned about the Spanish Civil War. They sang about race issues, about dictatorships, about repression, about friendships, about governance, about socialism, fascism, and about fighting the law and not winning (credit, of course, to Sonny Curtis — and there’s another thing – they introduced me to other, older, songs and singers, such as (and how cool is this – The Bobby Fuller Four)). They made it okay to be interested in those things and made me more comfortable with being a bit different – with not fitting in. And they inspired me to create, to be brave, to ask questions, to learn.
I wouldn’t have been a writer were it not for them.
And they wouldn’t have been them were it not for Malcolm McLaren.
So, yes. Thank you.