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Sex Pistols show spotlights ‘punk violence’

#Sex #Pistols #show #spotlights #punk #violence

Dennis Morris was the official photographer for the Sex Pistols and captured some of the most iconic images of 1970s punk pioneers.

More than 40 years after the band rose to fame, an exhibition of Morris’s classic photographs reveals the chaos and violence that surrounded the band to a new generation of fans.

The immersive show – “SID: Superman is Dead” – also features a recreation of a hotel room bass player that Sid Vicious smashed up in 1977.

The floor around an unmade bed is littered with glass from smashed pictures, pages torn from a Bible, and a broken TV.

Drug paraphernalia cover a bedside table.

“You read about Sid Vicious and you think he was a really violent person, but actually he was a pretty gentle person, very shy,” Morris told AFP at the Central London Gallery, which hosted the show.

Vicious embodied the mantra “Live Fast, Die Young” and died at the age of 21 from a drug overdose in New York.

Months earlier, he had been charged with stabbing his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.

“When he did heroin, he completely changed, he became a completely different person and that was horrible, he just basically broke down,” Morris said.

– razor –

In Morris’ original photo of the hotel scene, which was recreated for the exhibition, Vicious can be seen lying half-naked between two beds, while an unidentified person – “probably a fan” – sleeps on one of them.

“One night Sid went berserk and completely destroyed his bedroom,” he said.

“My room was next to his and finally, when the commotion stopped, I pushed open the door to his room and there was utter devastation.”

Morris, 62, originally wanted to be a war photographer but made his name as a photographer of reggae legend Bob Marley.

One of the goals of the installation was to convey a sense of the “energy and violence of punk”.

The Sex Pistols’ 1977 anti-monarchy tirade “God Save the Queen” coincided with Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee and provoked strong reactions.

Singer John Lydon – aka Johnny Rotten – and two producers were attacked with razors.

At other times, Morris recalls being “chased down the road” by pro-monarchists when they discovered Lydon.

“I found my war with Sid… they spoke out against the Queen and there was this reaction, which was shocking because people got quite violent at times,” said the British photographer.

“It got pretty scary, but for me it was really an opportunity to live my dream (of documentary photography). I was there 24/7.”

– Respect for the Queen –

Lydon – now 66 and a US citizen – recently said he attended a street party for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this month.

He said his dislike for the monarchy as an institution remains strong, but he has “total” respect for the 96-year-old head of state.

Whether Vicious would have changed his views will never be known, but Morris said he also developed a “deep respect” for the Queen.

“She’s held it together for generations even though she got into it at a very young age and that’s a really difficult thing,” he added.

“I’ve never really been against them (the royals) but over the years I’ve grown up.

“None of us really objected, it was just something said to evoke a reaction. All of our parents had a picture of the Queen on the wall or Jesus, it was like that… we just rebelled.”

– Sid was ‘innocent’ –

Morris firmly believes Vicious had “star quality”, but his damaged background made an early death almost inevitable.

“His problem was that when he was 14 his mother gave him heroin. And it was his mother who gave him the heroin that killed him,” he added.

After being released on bail from New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison following Spungen’s death, he was terribly afraid to return, he said.

“Because of his reputation, he was raped a few times and when he got out on bail he said to his mother, ‘I just can’t go back to jail, I just can’t do it,’ so she went out and hit and that killed him .”

Spungen was found in the couple’s room at New York’s Chelsea Hotel with a fatal stab wound to the abdomen. However, Morris remains convinced that Vicious was innocent.

One of his favorite photos is the backstage couple where Nancy is talking animatedly to a docile looking Vicious.

“He would never have done that,” he said.

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#Sex #Pistols #show #spotlights #punk #violence

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