Friday, November 18, 2016

Westwood book Launch 14 October 2016

Vivienne Westwood's book launch in St James church in Piccadilly last night was a strange affair. Cameras all around the gallery and choir-pews because apparently her son with Malcolm McLaren -  Joe Corre - is making a documentary all about himself and his theory that Punk wasn't about collecting things. Punk, he says, was about living in the moment and that all these collectible and therefore valuable items of clothing should be burned and burned by him and burned by him in public. And he was going to keep a record of the public burning by filming it.  Joe Corre wasn't old enough to be an original punk of course and I couldn't help feeling he was kind of stealing his mum's thunder. Would we call that narcissistic?

Vivienne's book is called GET A LIFE. The irony lost on Joe.

Pamela Anderson was in one of the front pews - in a high-necked Westwood b/w check dress - and looked very girly.

Pamela Anderson with Vivienne Westwood (Photo by Rhiannon Ifans)
The acoustics were very difficult for VW so the Q&A with Deborah Orr (Guardian) was very uncomfortable to sit through. It started off by DO asking VW to "Stand up and tell us about your outfit." Viv stood up and rambled a bit, not about her outfit...
and sat down. 

Next question about the title of the book wasn't answered either. On it went like that.

Her outfit by the way was designed by her partner, Andreas, and was a very well cut, flowery sort of Bowie-inspired (?) catsuit with ruffly shoulders. She wore high tan-coloured platform boots which she said she'd changed into after she'd parked her bike.

Vivienne did qualify what was going on early on - she told us she's gone quite deaf and was struggling with the acoustics - she was aware that she wasn't making much sense saying she'd been working quite hard this week. (I related. I don't make much sense either when I am over-tired.) I couldn't sit through the whole thing. I was actually hungry and having trouble with the acoustics myself. I went to get bite to eat and wait for my mates.

I leafed through the book at a quiet location ... diary entries, lots of pictures and recalled some reviews already published  asking why there's such little great depth or revealing emotion like you might expect from an autobiography. Maybe being over 70, you have so much more to do with Father Time and his Sythe chasing you about.  I found I got absorbed swiftly and I like her writing. It's clear and to the point. I like her honest direct approach. 

When I met my friends later they told me the film crew interviewed a bloke (in a Westwood t-shirt he'd bought on Ebay) having a rant to the cameraman. "BURNING OUR CULTURE? Who does Joe Corre think he is??"  

Of course the collectors are secretly thrilled. It makes the remaining "culture" worth so much more doesn't it? 

There's going to be a PUNK DEBATE on 18 NOVEMBER at the Museum of London at the Barbican. Joe Corre is on the panel with Jordan (who sold her Westwood/McLaren clothing for a small fortune a while back), Richard Boon (used to manage The Buzzcocks) amongst others, and moderated by Punk Professor (NYC) Vivien Goldman (who used to write for Sounds back in the day). 

On the way home my taxi driver told me that he lived in Clapham and used to see Ms Westwood  riding her bike late at night, after his shift, quite often. He has a few of her shirts. "Not cheap, but they fit great. And well cut enough that they don't stop you raising your fist on a peace march."

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