A new exhibition at the British Library will explore punk’s early days in the capital and reveal its remarkable influence spread across music, fashion, print and graphic styles nationwide and internationally. Showcasing a range of fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves from the British Library’s collections alongside rare material from the Jon Savage Archive at Liverpool John Moores University, the exhibition will celebrate the enduring influence of punk as a radical musical, artistic and political movement. This exhibition is part of Punk London, a celebration of the 40th anniversary of this unique and exciting musical phenomenon.
In 1976 the Sex Pistols released their infamous debut single ‘Anarchy in the UK’. Now in celebration of this seminal movement live gigs, talks, films, exhibitions and museum displays are all part of a year-long survey of this subversive culture. Not only will punk’s roots in London be explored, but also its on-going influence on modern day culture and society, from fashion to film, politics to identity, and of course music. Punk London will kick off with the Resolution Festival from 4 to 14 January 2016 at The 100 Club, the world-renowned music venue that hosted the legendary two-day 100 Club.
Other organisations involved in Punk London include the British Fashion Council, British Film Institute, British Library, Design Museum, Doc ‘n Roll Films, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Live Nation Merchandise, Museum of London, The Photographers’ Gallery, Rough Trade, PYMCA, Premier and On|Off, Roundhouse and Universal Music
Catalogue. In keeping with punk’s grass roots ethos, punk fans up and down the country are being encouraged to create their own events. Anyone wishing to host an event can register via the Punk.London website at www.punk.london/diy.
A new Punk London logo and type face, designed by punk-influenced graphic designed Neville Brody, has been commissioned for the year. Neville Brody said: “It has been an honour to be asked to develop the core design DNA of Punk London for 2016’s 40th anniversary. To be able to take a current view on a vital era which had so much creative impact and influence as well as forming many of my own ideas and approaches, has been a revelation, seeing so much contemporary relevancy within its remit and intent. The era feels fresh, and a year-long celebration will provide inspiration to many who will find its core ideas newly resonant and inspiring.”
Reflecting that there is as much interest in punks today as there was in 1976, Punk London has received a £99,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London said: “Punk smashed its way onto the UK’s music scene in the 70s, with its base largely in London, and profoundly changed not only music but art, fashion and culture forever, giving many disillusioned young people a voice for the first time. Punk is as iconic to the UK’s heritage story as Stonehenge and the British Museum and we’re delighted to support the Punk London cultural programme and want to encourage people across the
country to celebrate their own punk heritage in 2016.”
Jeff Horton, 100 Club, said: “Punk London is a chance to celebrate the period of music history that excited like no other. Angry, Rebellious, Loud and Brilliant. It turned the world to colour and changed society forever.” Further details will be announced throughout 2016 at www.punk.london. Punk London is supported by the Mayor of London.
Image: Dirty Fake Old Queen © Jamie Reid courtesy L-13
Punk 1976-78 (May to September 2016)