Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of punk continues with a major exhibition at the Museum of London.
Rather than focus on the big names of the punk scene, the exhibition Punks will tell the stories of the ordinary punks on the street, from handmade mixtape sleeves and DIY fanzines, to the radical clothes sold on the King’s Road. It will tell how punk crashed into London in the Summer of '76, changing music, fashion and attitudes forever.
Jen Kavanagh, curator of Punks, says: “Punk was so much more than just the music. It was a philosophy, a lifestyle, a community. The 17 incredible people who have contributed to this exhibition talk about their punk days with so much passion and affection and we wanted to get this across in the stories we display. Punk touched the lives of teenagers and young people in London in 1976, and for many it changed their lives forever.”
Lesley Edgar had always been interested in fashion, so when punk arrived she embraced the opportunity to push the boundaries with what she wore. Shopping in jumble sales and markets, clothes would be customised with chains and safety pins. Tartan kilts and men’s string vests formed her look. Lesley cut the sleeves off t-shirts to turn them into mini dresses, which she wore with fishnet tights or homemade plastic trousers.
Trev and Bev met in 1978. They were both fully immersed in the punk scene, spending their weekends on the King’s Road and at gigs. Buying clothes in second hand shops, or hanging out in The Chelsea Potter, they embraced the sense of community that punk brought. Nearly 40 years later they still go to gigs and hang out with the friends they made in the 1970.
Zoe Neale (pictured) was introduced to punk by her friend Jane. Bored of the prog rock that dominated the early 1970s, Zoe loved the energy and pace of punk. As she lived in the suburbs, she’d have to travel into London to attend gigs, and was a regular at the Marquee. Always experimenting with different coloured hair, her parents were appalled by her appearance, but eventually accepted her love of punk.
David Black was attending college in Norwich when he first encountered punk. He’d make trips into London to buy clothes, treating himself to a Destroy t-shirt from Seditionaries and a bondage shirt and mesh tie from Boy. Dave treasured his Destroy top and didn’t mind spending a lot to own it. But shopping on the King’s Road meant dodging the teddy boys, who were often looking for a fight.
Punks opens at the Museum of London on 1 October and runs until 15 January.
The Museum will also be holding a Punk London debate on 18 November; a live, no holds barred debate bringing together opposing ideas and arguments about the ideas of punk, its journey over forty years and what it means for the future. High profile line-up to be announced soon.
More details on the Museum of London website.