Punk’s coolest cat in Athens

An artist, a visionary or a kook? Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols and father of punk, is in Athens today to present an interactive performance inspired by none other than himself, at Fuzz. One of the most misunderstood characters in the history of punk rock spoke to Kathimerini about the punk movement, art in a postmodern world and the stories he tells his granddaughter. Bragging that he is the «UK’s Andy Warhol,» the astute manager/artist gives advice on what it takes to become rich and famous in the world of pop culture: Sell yourself as an explosive package. Impresario, musician, fashion designer, artist: Who is Malcolm McLaren after all, and what does he do? Malcolm McLaren is a visionary of pop culture, but at the same time he has also been the image of it for the last 30 years. He is an artist in the postmodern sense of the word. He uses all media and without a doubt has the imagination of an art school hooligan. He is the closest thing to Andy Warhol the United Kingdom has ever produced. He is always on the cutting edge. And he is recognized for the fact that he melded fashion with music: «The look of music and the sound of fashion.» Is there anything left of the punk explosion of 30 years ago? What’s left is the most exciting cultural and artistic movement to emerge in the last 30 years. Everything provocative that came after punk measured itself up against it and lost. Without punk rock we wouldn’t have artists such as Damien Hirst, designers like Galliano, hip-hop wouldn’t have existed and neither would films such as «Blade Runner» and «Reservoir Dogs.» Finally, we wouldn’t have bands such as the Killers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Babyshambles. Would the Sex Pistols have existed without their manager? But the manager was the Sex Pistols: The name came from my desire to transform these kids who used to hang out at my store on Kings Road in London into the sexy killers of a decomposing world. I dressed them, designed all the scandals that made them famous, liberated them of all artistic restrictions and made them fearless. In this way, the noble art of being a loser became a weapon that changed the face of pop music ever since. What is the weirdest question you have ever been asked in an interview? A short while ago an American magazine asked me how many men and women I’ve slept with and if I can remember any of them individually. How would you like to be remembered? As the «father of punk rock,» perhaps? That would be very nice indeed, as long as you removed the word rock from the title. You tell your granddaughter bedtime stories. Who’s her favorite character? Me, of course! Everything about me, because, you see, I am just a big child. We seem to have gone from the age of the musician to the age of the disc jockey. Would you agree? This is a world where art can be anything you choose. And music is no exception. Fuzz, 22 Vouliagmenis Avenue, tel 210.922.4641, 210.922.0802. The show starts at 11 p.m. On the go, around the globe Malcolm McLaren (born Malcolm Robert Andrew Edwards) has been one of the most important and controversial figures of pop culture for the past 30 years. Most know him as the manager of the Sex Pistols, and the man who conceived the group’s punk-rock image. McLaren was born in London in January 1946 and was raised by his grandmother, a wealthy Sephardic Jew. After being kicked out of a string of art schools for his «inappropriate behavior,» he gave up the idea entirely and moved to Paris, where he became intrigued by the Situationist International movement. In 1971, along with the designer Vivienne Westwood (his partner of many years), he opened a boutique on Kings Road in London called Let It Rock. He also designed clothes for films and plays. In 1974, McLaren moved to New York as the public relations manager of the New York Dolls. A year later, after having called his store, simply, Sex, he created a band from a group of boys who used to hang out at his store: He called them the Sex Pistols and in their three years on the stage they were involved in numerous shocking scandals and responsible for one of the greatest albums in the history of rock, «Never Mind the Bollocks,» as well as the entire punk movement. The band later accused McLaren of stealing their royalties. After the breakup of the band, McLaren continued to manage other bands (from Bow Wow Wow in 1979 to Jungk in 1998) and released a series of his own albums, including the lyrical «Paris,» on which he collaborated with French actress Catherine Deneuve. Recently, he was one of the producers behind the documentary «Fast Food Nation» and composed the jingle for British Airways.