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Punk: A True and Dirty Tale



Attention to all you rebellious, scandalous fashionistas.  The Hospital , a gallery, recording studio and members club co owned by former Eurythmic’s guitarist Dave Stewart, is bringing you Punk: A true and dirty tale, which focuses on the punk era where every thing was sex, drugs and rebellion baby.


{mosimage} Located on Endell Street, Covent Garden, it features outrageeous punk fashions from the legendary Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mclaren’s shop, SEX and Seditionaries, posters from Sid and Nancy’s Chealsea Hotel room, handwritten lyrics from ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, and rare examples of work by the Sex Pistols’ graphic designer, Jamie Reid.


The exhibition runs from the 7th October until 23rd January, and it is well worth a look as it oozes excitement, naughtiness and is a great way of celebrating London’s most famous fashion era, which put punks well and truly on the map of fashion history.


{mosimage} London is an ideal base for this exhibtion to take place and to celebrate the the visual imagery of the Sex Pistols, the aggressive improvised spirit of the movement and it’s influence on marketing.  The ransom note lettering, provocative nudity, rubber wearing, mohican bearing pioneered by the Pistols, are all here at the Hospital gallery.

Images that were shocking in the past, are now understood on offer for the public to view and remember the good old Rock and Roll days of punk.


Vivienne Westwood and Mclaren are key figures celebrated in this exhibtion and they get the recognition they deserve in bringing about the punk era.  Their notorious shop, ‘SEX’ with the message,’craft must have clothes but Truth loves to be naked’.  The interior was sprayed with pornographic graffiti, hung with rubber curtains and stocked with sex and bondage clothes.  This was the start and eventually this idea of wearing ‘forbidden’ clothing became contagious and every rock band wanted to be a piece of it. 


Vivienne once said, ‘I wore forbidden clothes because I thought I looked like a princess from another planet’.

Sex was intimidating and it attracted a bizarre clientele, with voyeurs and fetishists mixing with proto-punks.  Mclaren (Westwood’s partner in crime) renamed the shop ‘Seditionaries-clothes for heroes’ and was now the manager of the Pistols and a key figure in the emerging punk rock phenomenon.  This shop brought together all of Westwood’s and Mclarens subversive elements and produced ripped garments, leather, chains and badges, as Westwood said, ‘ You can’t imagine the punk without the clothing’.  The punk was born.




The fashions are arranged around the walls of the airy, whitewashed gallery alongside Reid’s posters, leaflets and press releases.  There are tartan bondage trousers, shirts mixing pornographic images and revolutionary slogans, and a dyed muslim shirt stencilled with the logo, ‘Only anarchists are pretty’.

Reid designed distinctive collage style posters and album covers, including the famous image of Queen Elizabeth II, eyes covered and a safety pin through her lip bearing the logo, ‘God save the Queen’.


The exhibition also features music memorabillia, including Johnny Rotten’s handwritten lyric sheets and a poster taken from the hotel room in NewYork’s chelsea, where Viscious allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death in 1978.  The poster is stained in what looks like blood.  Very Rock and Roll baby.


With the contrast of the sophisticated looking gallery and the ripped up, rebellious posters with the Queens head plastered on it, it is truly amazing to see, so I suggest you look on to the website www.thehospitalgallery.com and take a trip down to Covent Garden.  {mosimage}




Kyrsty Hazell

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