Strolling the fashionable King's Road
440 Kings Road in Chelsea was run by Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and designer Vivienne Westwood, and was as much part of the scene as any Soho nightclub. While the infamous SEX boutique closed in 1980, it remains a Westwood store, and the designer still loves to shock.
Well, anarchy is perhaps not the right word. While Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious railed against the establishment in the 70s, these days, punk has gone mainstream, with the biggest events taking place in museums, galleries and even libraries rather than in squatted Soho flats or dirty basement bars. It’s at the British Library where punk as a cultural phenomenon is explored in most-depth. Alongside the Gutenberg Bible and Shakespearean manuscripts, fans can view rare records, hand-written lyrics and rarely-seen photographs. Additionally, through video and audio archives, the Punk 1976-78 exhibition (until 2 October) explores the “enduring influence of punk as a radical musical, artistic and political movement”.
At the Museum of London, the focus is on London’s position at the centre of it all, with fanzines, posters, clothes and accessories documenting the few short years when the streets came alive with loud music and Mohawks. In comparison, the special punk season, to run at the famous BFI (British Film Institute) on the South Bank will take a wider look at the phenomenon, exploring not just the London scene but how it was picked up by youths across the world. Through a series of talks, exhibitions, performances and, of course, film, the BFI explores how the movement spread from central London to Jamaica and even parts of Africa .