Malcolm McLaren Autobiography
Malcolm McLaren Autobiography

Malcolm McLaren Autobiography

Red Planet Books
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Malcolm McLaren was the instigator of punk rock and the creator of the Sex Pistols. He orchestrated a movement that has reverberated through the years and changed the face of music, fashion and style. In 1980, he asked music writer Barry Cain to help with his autobiography. Unlike most – written 40 years after the event – this was written at the time with McLaren at his anarchic peak, riding high on his reputation as a pop svengali and media manipulator. It crackles off the page with verve, energy humour and bawdiness. This is his story, told in his own way, from his unconventional upbringing to his assault on a cosy music business that would never be the same again. Unique!

"...Salacious, hammed-up anecdotes" Paul Gorman

The Introduction...
"I have no desire to do things right. My one driving force is to do things absolutely fucking wrong. When it’s time to manage I mismanage. When it’s time to create order, I create disorder.

"I have only one limit and I am constantly aware of it – it’s a big, black wall which is getting closer all the time. When I finally hit it, I’m dead. I dream about that wall, and often wake up sweating in the middle of the night and tell Vivienne about it. It creates tremendous pressure in my head, yet my ultimate ambition is to reach that wall as fast as I can. It’s my driving force.

"I don’t have a line I can draw and say, that’s the limit. I have to kill off all taboo, to do what I can’t do, to go as far as I possibly can in the shortest space of time but also travel as many roads as I can.

"And when I’m not cutting through those taboos, when I’m not hitting home, I become a manic depressive and refuse to leave my bed for days at a time. I’m often physically ill with terrible stomach pains and I become utterly lost. It happened after the court case with the Sex Pistols. I couldn’t get out of bed, but I managed to drag myself up and get on a plane to Paris where I ended up in the pornography business simply because I lost my way. I get myself into incredible situations because I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing. I could be with the most uninspiring person when I’m in that state, and whatever they suggest, I’ll go along with because it’s crucial that I go in a direction, any direction.

"I’m not easily defeated and try as much as I can – but if I’m hit hard, I drop. That’s not so bad, because I can pick myself up and go again. It’s when there isn’t anywhere left to go, or I can’t come up with an idea that I just utterly collapse. I get so lost. So lost.

I have no sense of fear. I know there is nobody superior to me. I can honestly say I’ve never been afraid of anything. My upbringing taught me to have no regard for the status quo. I didn’t have to know what was right or wrong.

"My grandmother would talk to me of sex and politics as I sat on my potty and shat. How could anyone have inhibitions or taboos after that? I could speak up in front of anyone and not give a damn. My brain was quick and enabled me to find sharp methods to get around problems most people would find insurmountable. Moral structures, those things you’re not supposed to get around, I circumvented by unorthodoxy.

"I have no sense of morality or family life. I care nothing for traditions. There are no rules, so I am never a trespasser.
From school to the Sex Pistols, to EMI, to A&M, to Virgin, to pornography, it was all the same as being at primary school to me.
In fact, I have no sense of respect for anything …"

Malcolm McLaren 1980


Why we are publishing this book...

"I loved the manuscript the first time I read it. I knew it was an important document. That it captured Malcolm at the height of his power. I still feel that. It’s 13 years since I first read Autobiography and I love it even more now than I did then. I never met Malcolm, but having read the book I feel like I did – and that’s special. The words are Malcolm’s, but the magic that put it on the page is Barry Cain’s – Malcolm’s accomplice in 1980. Barry and I have been working together to see this released for the past six years. Now, finally, 40 years late, here’s Malcolm’s story in his own words."

Mark Neeter, Publisher