I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

How to Pull Off a Swindle (for The Sex Pistols & Malcom McLaren)


by Ryk McIntyre
June 17, 2011
See? the whole story is wrong from the beginning,
and that’s perfect. It completely fits the picture
of the fractured days of the 1970s. Everyone choking
on the dullest decade in all History. You could tell
from the music – bloody rich alcoholic dinosaurs
turning the Bhagavad Gita into a four-disc concept
album... fuck me! “Shoot me in the fucking head!”
 
said half the world that still had ears to listen with,
and a tongue that could still spit to its own music &
give thanks to soldiers like Iggy Pop, Patti Smith,
and all the rest of what was coming out of NYC.
Here’s where some people get the story wrong:
the Sex Pistols never started punk, it wasn’t even
The Damned, (f/b/o you fucking well-read posers)
 
it was The Ramones. They did some UK shows
and an entire sad generation that was suffering
from Led Zeppelin poisoning woke up, stood up,
got drunk, and said “Fuck yeah! This is The Shit!
And you know what? Betcha even I could do it!"
And Punk spread its unwashed arms, howled
like a drunk fuck, and promptly threw up all over
 
everyone and everything. That’s the moment
that Clever People got involved, and the Smart
People got in on the bit, and everyone else
picked up an instrument and started thinking
about the destruction of their favorite targets.
For some, that was Fat Man Music Business
others set their sights on The Queen Mother.
 
And so, the race began when the Sex Pistols
fired off their first shot. This was no longer just,
music, this was Doc Marten boots in a china shop
England. This was War, this Anarchy, This was
such a carefully orchestrated performance act
you still hear Malcolm McLaren’s ghost pissing
himself with laughter; not just over this joke, no-
 
but how he pulled it again and again: Bow
Wow Wow, Adam & The Ants, Buffalo Girls.
Such a logical path from a boutique on King’s
Road and The New York Dolls. But the joke’s
on Malcolm because it is with the Sex Pistols
he is most remembered. And I’m sure he’s Ok
with that. It was only ever supposed to be fun.
 
Do you get it? The whole twin fingers raised up
to the Queen, the TV interviews, stories of vomit
on airplanes – it was all a big laugh, a Fuck You
to how dead things were then. The U.K. needed
this: to speak truth to the power of the Monarchy
to have a holiday in the sun; to have one off on
the unfair mess, and never mind the bullocks.

Ryk McIntyre is a Multi-Hyphen sort of person. Poet, critic, performer, workshop facilitator and co-host at both GotPoetry! Live (Providence) and Cantab Lounge (Cambridge,MA). He's been living in RI for the past 6 years, with his wife and daughter. Ryk has performed his work at Boston's ICA, NYC's New School, Portsmouth, NH's Music Hall and Lollapalooza, to name just a few. He has toured the US, performing in countless Poetry open mics and festivals.  He turned down Allen Ginsburg once.