Friday, 9 April 2010

The great rock 'n' roll swindler

Despite an affection for The Ramones and The Clash, I was never a punk - but I loved the punk attitude. An attitude that music could be something more than tin pally commercialism and that rock 'n' roll was the new folk music of our times.

Ironically though Malcolm McLaren was  actually the very antithesis of all that - which is why I just don't get the eulogies that are now pouring in from all corners at the news of his death and lauding his journey from enfant terrible to national treasure.

Forget about the art-school background and his supposed subversive situationism, McLaren was old school showbiz through-and-through. He may have been a commercial genius in his eye for talent and judging the moment, and he undeniably had a massive effect on popular culture and media - but much the same could also be said for Simon Cowell.

There are worse crimes than commercial success, but when this comes disguised as  pretentious  anti-establishmentism, it leaves a very bad taste. And based on McLaren's deliberate fueling of Sid and Nancy's fatal downward spiral, with a general tendency, like Andy Warhol,  to treat the people  he worked with as no more than projects and performance moments, I suspect that on a human level he was just a bit of a cunt.

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