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The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren: The Biography

The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren: The Biography

Paul Gorman

A biography of someone with a claim to having been one of the most influential British music producers of the 20th century. I say "claim", because it's not always clear how much is reputation is deserved beyond his pivotal role with the Sex Pistols – whose own influence on punk can be disputed.

McLaren seems to have seen himself more as a fashion entrepreneur than as a musician, and indeed seemed to regard everything he did as an outgrowth of fashion in a wider sense. He emerges as a troubled individual who inflicted similar troubles on those close to him: he didn't seem to have taken his own background as a warning or as a negative example. And it's hard to decide whether some of his antics derived from a vision of how society could be different, or simply from truculence and a desire for the limelight. Gorman doesn't dig deeply into these issues, but does a balanced job of showing McLaren's strengths and weaknesses.

4/5. Finished 15 October 2022.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)

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