Nothing irritates me more than fans desperate to impart their own Twenty-First Century impulses on yesterday’s heroes. Most of the people describing their outrage at Virgin Money using Sex Pistols logos on credit cards, I suspect, would hate to be gobbed on at a punk gig circa 1977. And most of them are talking nonsense.
First up, consider this: The Sex Pistols released Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols on Virgin. They gave up on finding an independent label and did a deal with Richard Branson. So we have been here before.
Second, to think that the Sex Pistols were all about smashing consumerism is a mistake. Perhaps more than any other band before or since, they were about seizing back consumerism for the unwashed masses. They saw us not as unthinking purchasers, to be “consumed” by capitalism, but as bodies intent on riding the system.
So just because the people listening to their music today consider themselves liberals, doesn’t mean the Sex Pistols were. They never really wanted to smash capitalism.
The only thing they were really interested in smashing up was the notion of pop music as something special, reserved, sacrosanct. (They weren’t interested in anarchy as a philosophy, for example.)
Putting their logo on a credit card is something I think Malcolm McLaren would have loved. And he would be pissing himself at the po-faced reaction of people who take music far too seriously.