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The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren

The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren

‘Excellent . . . With this book, Gorman convincingly moves away from the ossified image of McLaren as a great rock’n’roll swindler, a morally bankrupt punk Mephistopheles, and closer towards his art-school roots, his love of ideas. Tiresome, unpleasant, even cruel – he was, this book underlines, never boring’ Sunday Times

‘Exhaustive . . . compelling’ Observer

‘Definitive . . . epic’ The Times

‘Gobsmacker of a biography’ Telegraph

‘This masterful and painstaking biography opens its doorway to an era of fluorescent disenchantment and outlandish possibility’ Alan Moore

Malcolm McLaren was one of the most culturally significant but misunderstood figures of the modern era. Ten years after his life was cruelly cut short by cancer, The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren sheds fascinating new light on the public achievements and private life of this cultural iconoclast and architect of punk, whose championing of street culture movements including hip-hop and Voguing reverberates to this day. With exclusive contributions from friends and intimates and access to private papers and family documents, this biography uncovers the true story behind this complicated figure.

McLaren first achieved public prominence as a rebellious art student by making the news in 1966 after being arrested for burning the US flag in front of the American Embassy in London. He maintained this incendiary reputation by fast-tracking vanguard and left-field ideas to the centre of the media glare, via his creation and stewardship of the Sex Pistols and work with Adam Ant, Boy George and Bow Wow Wow. Meanwhile McLaren’s ground-breaking design partnership with Vivienne Westwood and his creation of their visionary series of boutiques in the 1970s and early ’80s sent shockwaves through the fashion industry.

The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren also essays McLaren’s exasperating Hollywood years when he broke bread with the likes of Steven Spielberg though his slate of projects, which included the controversial Heavy Metal Surf Nazis and Wilde West, in which Oscar Wilde introduced rock’n’roll to the American mid-west in the 1880s, proved too rich for the play-it-safe film business.

With a preface by Alan Moore, who collaborated with McLaren on the unrealised film project Fashion Beast, and an essay by Lou Stoppard casting a twenty-first-century perspective over his achievements, The Life & Times Of Malcolm McLaren is the explosive and definitive account of the man dubbed by Melvyn Bragg ‘the Diaghilev of punk’.
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Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General / Biography: Arts & Entertainment

On Sale: 25th March 2021

Price: £14.99

ISBN-13: 9781472121110


Exhaustive . . . compelling
Sean O'Hagan, Observer
Excellent . . . With this book, Gorman convincingly moves away from the ossified image of McLaren as a great rock'n'roll swindler, a morally bankrupt punk Mephistopheles, and closer towards his art-school roots, his love of ideas. Tiresome, unpleasant, even cruel - he was, this book underlines, never boring
Victoria Segal, Sunday Times
Exhaustive, definitive . . . epic
Will Hodgkinson, The Times
An inspirationally detailed new biography
Andrew Perry, Q magazine
An incredible new biography of this provocative figure, perfectly encapsulating McLaren's ability to identify emerging trends and position or inveigle himself in at exactly the right moment
Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times
Gobsmacker of a biography
Helen Brown, Telegraph
Sex Pistols Svengali colourfully - and substantially - brought to life
Andrew Perry, Mojo
Fascinating new insights into the public achievements and private life of this cultural icon and architect of punk . . . [Gorman] is such a consummate narrator that you are gripped throughout the entire book . . . an intriguing and insightful read
Louder Than War
A far reaching psychological unravelling of one of the most fascinating British men of his era . . . Gorman's biography is a gorgeous work, filled with the kind of startling details fiction wouldn't dare invent . . . It is a book of great substance, depth and acuity, drawn with a sympathetic yet never overly reverential eye to the most brilliant pop cultural curator of them all
Paul Flynn, Love magazine
Gorman has an encyclopaedic knowledge of how music has intersected with style and design over the last 50 years . . . Gorman's book becomes most thrilling when it explores McLaren's less familiar post-punk work
Mark C. O'Flaherty, Civilian Global
Gorman dissects McLaren's subsequent adventures in hip-hop, detourned classical music and cinema in great detail
Andrew Perry, Uncut
Fascinating new tome
Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Daily Mail
McLaren finally gets the sensitively balanced biography he deserves . . . Gorman serves him well, with frequently jaw-dropping forensic eloquence
Classic Rock
A rounded portrait of this oft-misunderstood eccentric . . . without a hint of hagiography, the book mounts a strong case for McLaren's significance and enduring influence
Paul Whitelaw, Big Issue
Neither hagiography nor hatchet job, the book is curious, rigorous and . . . rarely dull
Fiona Sturges, Guardian
A magnum opus on the often overlooked and much-maligned maverick . . . a hectic and inspiring tale where the only constant is that of style
Ben Reardon, Vogue
A mesmerising journey, from youthful idealism to shape-shifting, hit-and-miss adulthood
Paul Tierney, The i
Fascinating and detailed . . . a brave biography of an extraordinary, quasi-shamanistic maverick
Morning Star
McLaren gets the exhaustively forensic, sensitively balanced biography he's long deserved . . . vivid and thorough account . . . fascinating, everything recounted with nonjudgmental eloquence and impeccable research. A major work
Record Collector
The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren should be required reading in art schools (and on film and creative writing courses too): it is a reminder that revolutions don't arise from icy perfection, only from a habit of getting things wrong
Times Literary Supplement
I couldn't put this book down. Malcolm inspired us to make art out of our boredom and anger. He set us free
Bobby G (Primal Scream)
Thorough and engaging
Alan Clayson, Ugly Things magazine
Excellent and compelling
Gary Lucas, Please Kill Me