Dear Shaded Viewers,
On Monday afternoon I was invited to a special press event at The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) for the recently opened Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976–1986, an exhibition that explores the punk, new wave and post-punk movements through the lens of graphic design.
MAD invited “John Rotten Lydon” (nice name branding there, Johnny) to give some remarks and answer questions from the press (there was a panel discussion later in the day as well). Well, I’m sure you all saw the recent video of Johnny on a panel with Marky Ramone, Henry Rollins, Donita Sparks, et al at a screening for the new punk documentary, and all hell broke loose (especially between Johnny and Marky).
The scabs that seemed to have healed over the rifts between the NYC and British punk scenes were violently ripped open, old grudges were dragged out onto the stage like so many dead cats, and the contentious arguments regarding the origins and storyline of punk were flung through the air like 40 ouncers hurled onstage at a Pogues gig, or gobbers spit at a PiL concert (I was an eye witness to this at a very excellent Public Image Ltd. show in Allentown, PA in 1984).
At MAD, it was just Johnny alone asserting his positions (see the video I filmed, posted above) with no-one to contradict or correct him, but that’s show business. I’m not going to pick a side in the NYC Punk vs. British Punk war, however it does seem like I’ve found my theme for my next tree-trimming party.
The exhibition, which takes up two floors of the museum, felt like a tour of my old, beloved record collection which I ended up selling for a pittance to the long-gone Adult Records on Avenue A in 1994 because I was six months behind on my rent and I needed the money. (I felt like Judas betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, and I’m sure I spent that money on Glennda wigs and vodka instead of back rent.)
I took a bunch of snaps of some pieces in the show, posted below. The exhibition is up through August 18, 2019 and is well worth seeing. It includes rare concert and documentary footage on big and small screens.
Love, Spit, Love,