Punk Is Dead: Sex Pistols Album Art Will Soon Grace Credit Cards

Sex Pistols
Photo Courtesy Verizon Money

Never mind the bollocks, here’s the tools of capitalist oppression!

Nearly 40 years after iconic punk band the Sex Pistols was signed to Virgin Records, Richard Branson wants to decorate a collection of credit cards issued by Virgin Money with the band’s logo and album artwork.

The two designs come from Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, their first (and only) studio album and the single Anarchy in the UK, which contained the eerily prescient lyric in light of today’s news, “Your future dream is a shopping scheme.”

Considering John Lydon has starred in butter commercials and did a stint on Judge Judy (seriously), this new form of selling out isn’t all that shocking in retrospect.

Michele Greene, the bank’s director of cards, said in a press release: “In launching these cards, we wanted to celebrate Virgin’s heritage and difference. The Sex Pistols challenged convention and the established ways of thinking — just as we are doing today in our quest to shake up UK banking.”

And without a discernible hint of irony, Virgin Money also stated in the press release that it’s “time for consumers to put a little bit of rebellion in their pocket.”

Rebellion with an interest rate of 18.9% APR.

Malcolm McLaren: Renaissance Man & Vivienne Westwood’s Baby Daddy

 

Those who declare themselves punk or glam have Malcolm McLaren to thank, should they care to, (though Lou Reed might have taken issue) for directing punk’s style beginnings from a shop on King’s Road in London. McLaren and designer Vivienne Westwood opened the shop, Let It Rock – later renamed SEX – and it was there that they sold clothes and records and made costumes for the New York Dolls out of red patent leather.

McLaren met Vivienne Westwood when he was a teenager, getting her pregnant by the time he was 18. His grandmother gave them the money for Westwood to have an abortion, but against McLaren’s wishes, she spent the money on a cashmere twinset.

Shop the look, see more photos, and READ +

DJ-ing at Heathers and Reminiscing About Brownie’s

As I said yesterday my editor is off somewhere doing unspeakable deeds and I have been asked, tasked, and threatened to keep these shorter than usual. I am complying, letting some of the hot air out of the balloon (or is it buffoon?) before this gets to you. I was up late last night at the behest of old pal Greg Brier who, along with some players to be named later, is involved with Heathers (506 East 13th Street). They asked me to do the 3AM till close DJ set and I said "Yay!" or something like that. It’s 7:30 AM now as I write this … welcome to my world. As they were setting up the equipment I was informed that most of the DJ’s use vinyl, and that this bar was the notorious after-hours joint Brownie’s way back in the day. Heathers is for real. The crowd was simply wonderful and the atmosphere is the perfect mix between dive bar and trendy lounge.

I cannot confirm that it was indeed Brownie’s, as that was a long time a go in a galaxy far, far away, and my vision and memory were often clouded back then. Although I never did drugs or drank I did stay up for days at a time and did push my limits in other ways. Brownie’s was the last stop for those who desperately needed more blow or maybe a blow job. It was a place of deep desperation tucked away in an area where nobody cared or at least didn’t complain. Nowadays neighbors complain all the time and the good folks at Heathers rightfully spend a lot of energy to be good neighbors. A big "or else" hangs over that statement.

Way back when the neighborhood was rough, punks and other revelers in ripped jeans, Ramones T-Shirts, or rock and roll collars pointed their pointy shoes toward the place, traveling in packs for safety, seeking just a few more hours of fun. I went there to find someone sleazy enough to top off my night. It was easy pickings. There’s an old saying which thankfully I rarely repeat or even subscribe to anymore. It goes something like this. "In 30 years in the nightclub business I never went home with an ugly woman … but, I have woken up with a few". Such was Brownie’s and my life before I got it all out of my system.

The punk era was for me the best time of my life except maybe for this time. The streets I walked and played in then are hardly recognizable today. Crossing the Bowery on Second Street the other day I watched yuppies from Peels glaring at some rockers having a smoke outside Bowery Electric. The yuppies were thinking rudely of them, their closeted minds content with fabulous slumming in the continuously unrecognizable hood of my youth. The look on one yup’s face as she stared at some post-punk refugee was "what is happening to this neighborhood". She took the words out of my mouth. I glanced up at the Joey Ramone Place sign above and lamented his loss, not regretting a second of my misspent youth. Brownie’s was a big part of it. If you see me out and about ask me about my favorite Brownie’s story, which I cannot repeat in this family blog.

Late last night I offered up some tracks that I might have heard back then, or it least had the vibe as I recall it. The Steve Lewis Brownie’s mix: 

"Jet Boy" – The New York Dolls

"Where is My Mind" – The Pixies

"Stay With Me" – The Dictators

"New Rose" – The Damned

"Detention Home" – Dead Boys

"TV Eye" – Stooges

"Kashmir" – Led Zepplin

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" – The Tokens

The Rising Surf- The Tandems

Decoy- The Sandals

Punks Fretting Over The Met’s Upcoming Punk Fashion Exhibit

An exhibition on punk music’s influence on fashion is headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute this May, which is great news for those of us who loved the Met’s Alexander McQueen exhibit and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London’s exhibit on Vivienne Westwood. But not everyone is so excited about Punk: Chaos To Couture.

Young Kim, the widow of godfather of punk Malcolm McLaren, said the exhibit is riddled with inaccuracies and mispellings of names. A fashion writer and expert on punk clothing, Paul Gorman, also criticized the Met’s work on the exhibit, suggesting standards were a bit slack. Both are questioning the authenticity of some of the clothes in the exhibit, which is explained in detail in this Guardian UK piece.

Some of Kim’s complaints about the Punk: Chaos To Couture are fruitless, if not outright silly: she faults the Met for not "engaging" McLaren for the exhibit, who died in 2010, while he was still alive. It would be lovely indeed if anyone who could help with a museum exhibition was alive to assist, but that’s usually not how museums work.

But their points are fair and well-noted. Fortunately the Met still has almost three months until Punk: Chaos to Couture opens to the general public to address them.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.