Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 17:13 UK

Punks old and new bid farewell to McLaren

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News

Malcolm McLaren
Malcolm McLaren was at the forefront of the punk movement

For a "minute of mayhem", it is quieter than most one minute silences.

It is midday in North London and it is the day of Malcolm McLaren's funeral.

Half a dozen punks - vastly outnumbered by camera crews - lean against the wall outside Camden Town tube station.

One purple-haired punk bursts into the chorus of The Sex Pistols' anthem Anarchy in the UK.

"Cos I waaaanna be... Fred Flintstone!"

"Let's a have a pogo from the press," says another man making a video for YouTube.

The press doesn't pogo.

The purple-haired singer is Chris Maber from Bradford who describes himself as "a 43-year-old ageing punk rocker".

He has come to London to pay his respects to former Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, and to "see some old faces and some new faces".

"I thought there would be more people," he admits, adding: "Everybody's a punk, even if they don't look like it."

What did McLaren mean to him?

"He was outrageous in what he'd say, and he could fire up people's emotions.

"I want to walk up to the cemetery. They are going to put him in the ground and the ground will be punk. Punk trees will grow."

Almost anarchy

Over the next two hours, the crowd begins to swell along Camden High Street. It is a bright spring day and curious passers-by stop to ask what is going on.

Among the younger generation of punks is Gemma O'Brien, from Holloway, in a T-shirt - printed with a pair of naked breasts - that invokes the spirit of '76.

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McLaren fans say goodbye

"I wasn't quite there in the original days," she says. "But I wanted to come and honour Malcolm for bringing a bit of change to Britain.

"His inspiration is still evident today. His style spanned so many different genres."

At Camden Lock shortly after 1pm, there is a moment of confusion - almost anarchy - as a funeral cortege goes by.

It is not McLaren's, but there is a smattering of applause and some people even leave, thinking it is all over.

Forty-five minutes later, four black horses with black plumes lead the McLaren cortege along the street.

The coffin - with the words "Too fast to live too young to die" goes past, followed by several funeral cars.

And then comes a green double-decker bus which lists its destination as "nowhere" - just like the one on the sleeve for The Sex Pistols' Pretty Vacant.

The bus, which also has McLaren's "cash from chaos" motto emblazoned on the side, is packed with mourners.

Anonymous hands throw punk magazines out of the windows to the clapping crowd.

From inside, a stereo is blaring the Sid Vicious version of My Way.

The grinning face of punk musician Edward Tudor-Pole appears at the rear window as the bus goes over Camden Lock bridge.

A few minutes later, as the crowds disperse, Buzzcocks guitarist Steve Diggle walks past having attended the private funeral service.

Gemma O'Brien
I wanted to come and honour Malcolm for bringing a bit of change to Britain
Gemma O'Brien

"It was a very moving thing, very powerful," he says.

"We did our first gig with the Sex Pistols in Manchester, so we go back a long way," he recalls.

Diggle says of McLaren: "It was that chaotic nature he had, that situationist nature of putting people together and see what happens. You realised everything was possible."

"All that's missing today in the world of globalization. He was an inspiration to everyone he knew, and he pulled the carpet from under the world for a while and made you think again like all great art."

And his plan for the rest of the day?

"I'm going to the wake. We'll probably get really drunk as usual.

"That's rock'n'roll, isn't it?"



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Times Online Punk royalty say goodbye to McLaren - 19 hrs ago
Mail Online UK 'Too fast to live, too young to die': Stars gather to farewell Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren - 23 hrs ago
The Sun Wacky funeral for punk pioneer Malcolm McLaren - 27 hrs ago
Scottish Sun Punk legends wacky funeral - 37 hrs ago
The Independent They came in leather and studs to say goodbye - 40 hrs ago


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