God Save the Afterlife

Malcolm McLaren, who is probably best remembered for creating and managing the Sex Pistols, passed away today at the age of 64.  In addition to his fame for his association with the Sex Pistols, at various points McLaren also managed the New York Dolls, Adam and the Ants (later to become just Adam Ant), and Bow Wow Wow.  McLaren also released some work of his own in the 1980s and 1990s, including his biggest hit–the 1983 single “Double Dutch”–which reached number 3 in the U.K. and appears above.

In becoming an instrumental figure in the development of punk and an important figure in the history of rock ‘n’ roll in general, McLaren wed fashion, image, and music into an ideology built out of situationism, which critiqued capitalism by promoting what were called “alternative life experiences.”  The situationist pespective was most prominently expressed in written form in Guy Debord’s book Society of the Spectacle.  Taking a look through the work of McLaren and the acts with which he was associated, though, reveals that McLaren may have expressed the perspective even more profoundly through popular culture performance.

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