The British Library’s punk exhibition celebrates the 40th anniversary of this unique and exciting musical phenomenon
Starting with the impact of the Sex Pistols in 1976, the exhibition explores punk’s early days in the capital and reveals how its remarkable influence spread across music, fashion, print and graphic styles nationwide. Showcasing a range of fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves from the British Library’s collections alongside rare material from the archives held at Liverpool John Moores University, including items from England’s Dreaming: The Jon Savage Archive, it celebrates the enduring influence of punk as a radical musical, artistic and political movement.
The exhibition contains adult content.
The library has put together a huge collection of punk memorabilia for the exhibition, making the event a shrine to punk. Punk fans can look forward to being transported back to the glory days. Things you can expect to see there are a range of fanzines, flyers, record sleeves and recordings from the library’s collection. Also, rock journalist Jon Savage has donated raw material from his archive in Liverpool’s John Moores University.
Andy Linehan, the curator of popular music at the British Library raves about his excitement for the event. He says how the exhibition is focusing on the initial burst of punk, and looks at the way it continuously influences our culture as time goes on. Linehan talks about how he actually lived through the punks’ defining era and looking at all of the items in the exhibition is a crazy flashback to his youth. He explains how punk is “not an easy thing to define”, but he does talk about the huge impact punk made on the way people think. As he says that punk was “the birth of the independent label”. One part of the exhibit Linehan says he’s really excited about is a very rare, unreleased A&M copy of God Save the Queen, which was donated from a huge Sex Pistols collector, who was happy to share his collection.
Flyer for The Roxy, a famous place for live punk performances.
Image from The British Library website
Anarchy in the UK’ art draft. Image from The Guardian
Punk 1976-78 is part of Punk London, a year of events, gigs, films, talks and exhibits celebrating 40 years of punk heritage and influence in London
Open until Sun 2 Oct 2016