In 1975, 6 members of the Sex Pistols: Johnny Rotten, Glen Matlock (soon to be replaced by Sid Vicious), Steve Cook and Paul Jones lived in the upstairs room behind 6 Denmark Street, London. Known as ‘Tin-pan Ally’, the street has deep musical roots: David Bowie lived there in a camper van, the Rolling Stones and Elton John recorded here, and the NME had its offices in the street.
In 1975 the Sex Pistols were the trail-blazers for the punk movement. They were anti-establishment and had little regard for the musicians who preceded them. When asked by Janet Street-Porter for London Weekend Television who were his heroes, Johnny replied that he didn’t have any – ‘they are all useless’. Ironically, they are now part of the Denmark Street story, and even stranger that the building in which they lived is a listed building, at Grade II* no less. The clues to their lives remain on the walls, having survived for many years under wallpaper. Many of the main characters from this time are depicted, along with words and slogans. Jah Wobble is here, John Tiberi (producer of ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’), Sid and Nancy, Malcolm and Johnny himself.
The images displayed at this special exhibition at the Fossgate Social represent a part of this collection of murals and graffiti, most if not all penned by Johnny himself.
John Schofield and Paul-Graves-Brown visited Denmark Street to record the artworks in 2010, publishing their findings in the journal Antiquity in 2011. John now works for the Archaeology Department at the University of York.
He first wrote about the Sex Pistols in 2000, and has since written numerous papers and book chapters that explore the various and complex relationships between music and place. He has a particular interest in the contributions contemporary music can make towards sense of place and cultural identities, and how this relates to more traditional cultural heritage agenda.
Come along tonight (4 November) to experience this part of music history for yourself. Starts at 7:30pm.