When Sheila Rock joined her friend (and Patti Smith guitarist) Lenny Kaye to see the first gig of a little known band called The Clash, she didn’t realise that this chance encounter was to be a pivotal point in her career. Armed with her Nikon camera, this was Rock’s first time capturing the creativity, restlessness and anti-authority of Britain’s unfolding punk movement in the Seventies.
Rock’s newly released book Punk+ is a visual documentary of the riotous punk scene. Capturing a host of pivotal figures from Blondie to Billy Idol, Siouxsie Sioux to The Sex Pistols, the book is personalised with hand written annotations, street style images and candid shots. Divided into five sections, Fashion, Crowd, Scene, Music and the enigmatic + category - we’re looking back at three of the major hideouts of Rock’s ‘Scene’, one that made punk such a transformative movement in music and fashion.
SEX, Kings Road, Chelsea
Returning from New York after a stint managing the New York Dolls, Malcolm McLaren opened fashion boutique SEX in 1974. With graffiti, chicken wire and rubber covered walls, customers could buy clear plastic trousers, zippered tops and provocative t-shirts with trompe l’oeil breasts, anarchic captions and Karl Marx themed patches. McLaren’s then girlfriend Vivienne Westwood sold her revolutionary designs from the store, and punk pioneer Chrissie Hynde and Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock were shop assistants.
Acme Attractions, Kings Road, Chelsea
Originally opening in 1974 as a stall on the London’s Kings Road, the Acme Attractions store fused the genres of punk and dub reggae. Selling electric blue zoot-suits, jukeboxes and second-hand furniture, the store was visited by punk and reggae artists alike, including Bob Marley, The Sex Pistols, Patti Smith and Blondie. Less a shop and more of a club, Acme Attractions front man Don Letts blasted dub reggae night and day, as customers fawned over the latest rubber tops, plastic dungarees and faux fur jumpers.
THE ROXY, Neal St, Covent Garden
Started by Andrew Czezowski, Susan Carrington and Barry Jones in 1976, The Roxy showcased the greatest punk bands of its time. With appearances from Generation X, The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Heartbreakers, its headliners represented the politically-unsettled mind-set of a generation. Don Letts of Acme Attractions was resident DJ, and before the club closed its doors for the final time in 1978, it had played host to some of the greatest bands in punk and music history.