Last Monday, I headed over to the Euston Road to check out the Punk 1976-78 exhibition at the British Library. It's a small, but often fascinating exhibit, surprisingly heavy on ephemeral items, flyers, fanzines and posters - things that one might have thought would've been lost over the past 40 years. Among the other items on display are a couple of original Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood t-shirts from the Sex boutique on King's Road, the original cassette of The Clash's first interview for NME and the only known document in existence to be signed by all five Sex Pistols - Glen Matlock's official resignation letter from the band. I personally lingered longest at the wall of punk 7" sleeves - surprised at how many I still knew after all this time and how few I failed to recognise.
Overall, the exhibit rightly gives time and space over to some of the important female artists of the period (Slits, X-Ray Spex, Siouxsie etc), though somewhat surprisingly, the blurb on the poster at the entrance overlooks them altogether, singling out only the Pistols, Clash and Buzzcocks by way of introduction. Fortunately when Viv Albertine of The Slits visited the show she remembered to take along a felt tip pen. I took a quick snap of her handwritten thoughts on this glaring omission. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)
Here are The Slits with a fantastic tune that actually falls outside of the exhibition's timeframe (it was released on a split 7" single in 1980), but it just doesn't get an airing often enough.
The Slits - In the Beginning There Was Rhythm
(Punk 1976-78 is on at the British Library until October 2nd, admission free.)
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