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malcolm mclaren has died

Posted on 08 April 2010 by Caryn Rose (0)

I hated Malcolm McLaren when I was old enough to have an opinion about him for the same reasons I hated Aerosmith and KISS back then: I saw him as having ruined, and then stolen, the best of my beloved New York Dolls. Through the lenses of my blinding teenage love, the Dolls broke up because he killed them, while their pale, feeble imitators were able to make a living at it. And later, every time I’d find myself in the “who started punk first, the US or the UK” argument, his name would be invoked and I’d point out that he stole it lock, stock and barrel from Richard Hell and every kid hanging out at CBGB before there was anything resembling punk fashion.

You could also hate him for turning the word “punk” into the thing that made your parents lock their doors, robbing the Ramones of “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” finally giving them their first hit. But would it have been so monumental and enduring a force if it hadn’t been so divisive? We’ll never know.

I hated him because he never gave his partner, Vivienne Westwood, any credit for being his partner in crime (or at least not publicly enough), and Jessica Hopper reminds us of his svengali-esque exploitation of an underage Annabella Lwin.

But he was an influencer and he added something to the culture. He had a profound influence on my world. Begrudging respect is given, although Malcolm would have loved and fed off my hatred.

I am heartily tired of writing obituaries and I haven’t even started.

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