The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

Tributes are pouring in for Malcolm McLaren, who died yesterday (April 8). More than a band manager, he was a legendary raconteur and pop-culture theorist. Here are a few of his most memorable statements.

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Added: 9 Apr 2010

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On punk: “Punk became the most important cultural phenomenon of the late 20th century. Its authenticity stands out against the karaoke ersatz culture of today, where everything and everyone is for sale.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On being a provocateur: “Be childish. Be irresponsible. Be disrespectful. Be everything this society hates.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On the Sex Pistols: “We are punk rock, we're like the lunatic fringe, a bit Robin Hoodish. We're the con men, or we're hated or we're loathed or we cop out. And that's what makes it exciting.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On the power of music: “Rock ‘n’ Roll doesn't necessarily mean a band. It doesn't mean a singer, and it doesn't mean a lyric, really. It's that question of trying to be immortal.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On popular protest: “London has a proud history of freedom of expression - anarchists, revolutionaries and dissidents have written their pamphlets here. Street protest is every Londoner's right and should never be stomped upon.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On opening his clothes shop, Sex, with Vivienne Westwood (pictured): “My intention was to fail in business, but to fail as brilliantly as possible."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On being an agitator: “I am a product of the Sixties. All I have ever felt is disruptive — I don’t know any other way.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On the Sex Pistols’ infamous TV interview with Bill Grundy: “As simple and harmless as it seems today, that interview was a pivotal moment that changed everything."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On the sex trade: “[We should] Legalise brothels opposite the Houses of Parliament. This will help get rid of sleaze scandals in the government and allow us to focus on the real bullshit that the elite produces.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On Sex (again): “I wanted to sell things that were normally sold in brown paper bags under the table. I tracked down manufacturers all over the UK… black rubber t-shirts, black rubber raincoats, tit clamps, and cock rings. We sold it all.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On nostalgia: “Our culture has become something that is completely and utterly in love with its parent. It's become a notion of boredom that is bought and sold, where nothing will happen except that people will become more and more terrified of tomorrow, because the new continues to look old, and the old will always look cute.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On punk: “The popularity of punk rock was, in effect, due to the fact that it made ugliness beautiful.” (Pictured here are the New York Dolls, who McLaren managed).

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On his early career: “I was searching for a way to break the rules, change life – and I was looking to turn art into action."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On himself: "Somehow or another, I remain permanently cool. I try to make ideas happen - ideas that could change life."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On stardom: "I think all great artists are separated from ordinary artists by one thing: they are magicians.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On 'Anarchy In The UK': ""It's a call to arms to the kids who believe that rock and roll was taken away from them. It's a statement of self rule, of ultimate independence."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On the early days of rock and roll: "Anarchy is self-rule. It's the same attitude that Eddie Cochran had."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On being an artist: “I just wanted to bury myself into the bowels of pop culture and grab-bag it, reinvent it, cut it up, and destroy its product.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On bad behaviour: "The violence is bound to happen, isn't it? Rock and roll is violent music."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On falling out with John Lydon: "What did I do to this kid? I sprinkled him with stardust. But you have to appreciate: no one wants to know they have been manufactured."

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On plagiarism: "Stealing things is a glorious occupation, particularly in the art world.”

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The wisdom of Malcolm McLaren

On being well-connected: "Iggy Pop used to come to my shop. I'd tell him to get out. I thought he was a hippie."

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