Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die
Radiation Level: Elevated
Listening To: W.O.R.K. by Bow Wow Wow
Who didn’t have that iconic record Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols on vinyl? Purchasing the neon pink and green album, then deliberately playing it in front of your parents is still a rite of passage for young people. Just the idea that someone else understood the pain of being a teenager and the struggle to be understood, brought comfort to so many teens. Rebellion was good! That was punk. That was Malcolm McLaren.
Musical genius. Artist who used musicians as his medium. Creator of the punk rock movement.
Malcolm McLaren knew what punk sounded like and his former wife, clothing designer Vivienne Westwood, knew what it looked like. Together they created a whole generation of FORWARD while hippies and love children were dropping out and tuning in. Together, they influenced art, music and fashion.
McLaren and Westood’s clothing store was constantly being reinvented. Some names include Let it Rock, Too Fast to Live, too Young to Die, SEX and Seditonaries. Their London boutique was the center of it all. And may have been the cause of his end. His girlfriend of the last 12 years, Young Kim, said that Malcolm wanted his boutique to look like a “nuclear bomb hit it” and tore out the ceiling, which most likely contained asbestos. The exposure to it may have been the cause of his mesothelioma from which he died.
Annabella Lwin, who first met McLaren as a 13-year-old in the early 1980s when he recruited her to be lead singer of the New Wave pop band Bow Wow Wow, called him a “genius.” “He had a strange, mystical way of recognizing something in somebody that they didn’t know that they really had,” Lwin said in a phone interview with the Los Angeles Times. “The best advice he gave me was just to be myself.”
Malcolm McLaren’s son with Westwood, Joe Corre, is the founder of high-end underwear brand Agent Provocateur. Corre had a turbulent relationship with his flamboyant father, and said about McLaren, “I think he was damaged and I’m a bit damaged in turn, but it makes you strong,” he explained. “It’s like your weakness and your force. You drive yourself on to prove yourself. If he hadn’t been messed up as a child, would he have created punk?”
The answer is clearly no. Next time your kid tells you how you screwed them up, next time you write that check to your kid’s psychotherapist, next time you get an angry call from his/her school, remember: Buffalo Gals Go Round the Outside.