Thursday, April 08, 2010

We Love Malcolm

...cause no one else does.

(Video via Jon Solomon.)

There's a lot of things you could call Malcolm McClaren: swindler, charlatan, opportunist, scam artist, provocateur, culture vulture, art school wanker, unrepentant exploiter, borderline child pornographer, shameless idea thief, narcissist. I'm sure McLaren wouldn't object to any of those being part of his epitaph.

Coincidentally, I just rewatched The Filth and the Fury a few days ago. The film certainly downplayed McLaren's contribution to his most famous association, the Sex Pistols. This was in some ways a refutation of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (ironically, also directed by Julien Temple), where McLaren positioned himself as a Machiavellian mastermind assaulting culture and the Pistols themselves as mere puppets. The truth somewhere in between. There's little doubt that McLaren's concepts shaped the Sex Pistols to some degree. At the very least, he deserves full credit for dressing them.

Beyond even that band's considerable influence, McLaren's fingerprints are all over popular culture. Consider Bow Wow Wow's Annabella Lwin then consider the early career of Britney Spears. Consider his "solo" recording "Buffalo Gals" then consider Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot." McLaren was obviously more an ideas man than musician but his ideas have informed music culture for the past 30-plus years. Anyone who has enjoyed a bit of post-Situationist subversion mixed in with their pop product probably has McLaren to thank.

No comments: