Here are some fine strange bedfellows for you: New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and . . . Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten. The occasion for their conjugation is an exhibition that opened this past week at the Met, "AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion," to which Mr. Rotten has contributed an 8-minute audio commentary, which is available for free download as an MP3 file/podcast at the immediately preceding link.
In addition to providing a dramatic recitation of the complete lyrics to the Pistols' infamous "God Save the Queen" -- he's the New Wave William Shatner, I tell you! -- Rotten expounds upon the origins of such staples of Punk style as the safety pin
What does one do when the sleeve falls off one's jumper? One safety-pins it up, that's what one does!
I did a photo session in a straitjacket . . . and I liked the feeling of that restriction. I also liked the sheer danger of it, the fact that if I got caught out in the street by a mob that did not particularly like me I had no way of running away. Ha ha: essential! That's Johnny Rotten style, that.
He offers advice to the Royal Family and a "monanarchist" vision of human equality, and remarks approvingly upon the Met's decision to install the show in its English period rooms:
Punk clobber in 17th Century designer rooms! Excellent choice. Excellent. This sums up Britain perfectly, as it did then, as it does now. This is what class will get you. True distinction. True diversity. And out of that diversity, we smile in the face of adversity, to quote Shakespeare.
Sorry: not bein' a snob, bein' a yob.
Well worth a listen, if only to be reminded of how essentially "sophisticated" is the sound, to American ears, of even a lowest-class British accent. Somehow there will always be an England, even if it has No Future.
[Links by way of WFMU's Beware of the Blog.]
In an early post on this weblog, I reminisced about having attended what proved to be the final public performance by The Sex Pistols, in San Francisco on a rainy night in January 1978. Rick Coencas, who is on weblog hiatus at the moment, was also there.
In my prior Pistols post, I linked the then-weblogs of Brian Micklethwait and Alice Bachini, neither of which currently exists in the form it did in 2003. Brian Micklethwait's current weblog on matters political, cultural and photographical is here. Alice Bachini has relocated to Austin, Texas, where under the rubric of 'like a tea-tray in the sky', she remarks upon whatever strikes her fancy, such as:
Who needs free wi-fi by the side of a creek in a camper van? The answer would be 'Texans' clearly.
John Rotten is apparently being cheeky with his "to quote Shakespeare." While WS mentions adversity on several occasions -- e.g., the Duke in Act II of As You Like It, "Sweet are the uses of adversity . . ." -- it was actually the American Edgar Watson Howe who remarked:
No man can smile in the face of adversity and mean it.