Just a few days after my birthday, Malcolm McClaren passed away, after a long battle with cancer. He wasn’t that old, just in his early 60’s, no age at all. I was deeply shocked. Malcolm had always been so full of life, verve, vitality and having such a sheer abundance of energy, that the idea of his being no more was hard to grasp.
Also, Malcolm and what he represented was an intrinsic part of youth. I was 15 in 1977. I was a punk, I saw virtually every punk band of note (and some less so) and spend a good deal of my teenage years and my twenties haunting the Kings Road, particularly when I was a design student. I coveted though could not afford the wonderful clothes on sale in Sex and Seditionaries, and how much are they worth now?
Suffice to say, that though Malcolm didn’t invent ‘punk’ (as many claim), he certainly was a major force in it’s character, look and direction along with his partner of the time, Vivienne Westwood.
It also got me thinking about all the events, changes, inventions and new technologies I have seen come and go in my lifetime. So, off the top of my head, here are some of the most notable events, happenings, to which I was either witness or involved in.
These are not necessarily in chronological order.
- The Cuban missile crisis.
- Nelson Mandella was imprisoned.
- John Kennedy’s assassination.
- The War in Vietnam.
- The first heart transplant took place
- Martin Luther King was assassinated.
- Mini skirts.
- Mods and Rockers.
- Mary Quant and the Quant Cut.
- The Beatles
- The Internet was created by the military.
- Men went into space and Niel Armstrong walking on the Moon (I watched on my Grandparents television as we didn’t have one).” That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
- Our own telephone. We were the first family in our street to have one.
- Strikes in the UK and the introduction of the three day week.
- Disco music and Saturday Night Fever
- Star Wars
- Huge flared trousers.
- Punk and New Wave.
- The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, The Jam, Blondie, XTC, Joy Division, Siouxie and the Banshees, Elvis Costello, etc. (saw them all and more, more more).
- New Romantics.
- The invention of the silicon chip, and subsequently; calculators, digital watches etc.
- Colour television was introduced.
- Greenpeace was formed.
- The Golden Jubiliee.
- The hippy movement died out.
- The troubles in Ireland, the IRA and the bombing campaign.
- Brezhnev died.
- IBM introduced the first personal computer.
- Ronald Regan became President.
- Women started a protest at Greenham Common (I joined a huge protest there).
- The first ‘Test Tube Baby’ and IVF.
- We learned about AIDS (I watched Panorama report with fellow student friends, not really understanding what it meant).
- Famine in Ethiopia and Live Aid.
- VHS and Betamax.
- The introduction of CDs and the fall of vinyl.
- Rap and Hip Hop
- The creation of Perestroika in Russia and a new era.
- The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR (I watched the first people come through the gate on television, we drank beer and cheered).
- Nelson Mandella is freed and the end of Apartheid in South Africa (again, watched with friends and celebrated).
- The terrible wars in Eastern Europe
- The introduction of the mobile phone.
- Solid State Logic and the 48 Track (worked in a recording studio in the West End).
- The World Wide Web, which changed life for ever.
- 9/11 and the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York.
- The wars in the Far East.
There are lots more I know, these are the events I can easily recall to mind as having happened in my lifetime…and it’s a lot.
RIP Malcolm. You helped make my teenage years a much more colourful experience.