‘Playing The Sex Pistols felt like time travel’

On June 7, 1977, as the great and good gathered on the Mall to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee, a small boat festooned in homemade banners hoved to under Westminster Bridge. Onboard, chaos reigned, as a band thrashed through a noisy song led by their singer, a short man with red spiked hair and wildly staring eyes. “God save the Queen,” he sang, “the fascist regime, they made you a moron, potential H-bomb.”

one of this seemed very British, and the exhibition came to an abrupt end when police forced the boat to dock and arrested most of the entourage. The singer was John Lydon (or Johnny Rotten), the band the Sex Pistols, invented by Malcolm McLaren (according to McLaren), and for a brief but spectacular moment the bête noire of Britain’s establishment.

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