Fresh Living

Malcolm-Mclaren_240.jpgOnce upon a time I was a junior high punk rock girl with a pink mohawk and combat boots. I stomped around New York City, doodled the “A” for “anarchy” on my notebooks, and listened to bands like the Sex Pistols really, really loud. I was also completely obsessed with Anabella, the lead singer of Bow Wow Wow–she was only a bit older than me, and in my eyes, imminently hotter and cooler. I so very wanted to be her.

So it’s a sad day–Malcolm McLaren, the mad, entrepeneurial genius behind those two bands, has died of cancer at age 64. Gah. More cancer. It seems this week it’s especially everywhere. But/and, as usual, an untimely death means people will be honored for the essence of who they were.

In one Entertainment Weekly article, McLaren, who was equally loathed as loved, is quoted as such when asked for the best advice he’d ever received:  “A goatee-bearded art lecturer said: ‘It is better to be a flamboyant failure than any kind of benign success.’ For me, those words define punk rock.”

EW also has a surprisingly warm and lovely interview from Anabella Lwin, who Malcolm plucked from a dry cleaning job (after getting her fired) and hired her for Bow Wow Wow at age 14. “I Want Candy,” their biggest hit, has been playing on a radio near you ever since. Some snippets from her generous testimony:

“I had no idea what the music industry was about at that time, and he would encourage me to be more me, and told me that I shouldn’t change to be something I wasn’t. He used to tell me to keep it real, and use my imagination, and to have fun. He said it was an adventure.”

“He started the punk rock movement, and there are a lot of groups out there that have him to thank for them being so big today in the industry. Maybe they don’t take that into consideration because they were little boys or little girls watching the telly, but if it hadn’t been for Sex Pistols and the whole punk movement, there wouldn’t have been bands like Spandau Ballet. A lot of people will definitely be feeling the loss of this genius. Because he was a genius. He saw such great potential in people. He just went all these different directions. You can’t really say any less than that: The guy was a genius.”

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