Paul Simonon and Mick Jones of the Clash, Glen Matlock - Sex Pistols
Gelatin Silver Print
30.6 x 24.2 cms (12.03 x 9.51 ins)
Caroline Coon's photographs of the early Punk bands, including the Sex Pistols and The Clash (whom she managed from 1978-1980), reflect her own status as intimate and insider. She has earned a unique place in British Culture: a counter-culture activist in the 1960s, a leading protagonist in the early years of British Punk and a photographer and painter. Coon also continues to work as a feminist agitator, political activist and social campaigner: particular causes include the legalising of drugs and of prostitution.In this photograph, Coon captures the Sex Pistols and Steel Pulse staging an anti-racism demonstration outside the headquarters of the National Front in early 1977. The protest, a year before the Rock Against Racism concert in Victoria Park, united white punk with black roots reggae.
The two genres of music were booming in the UK at this time. A combination of huge cuts in welfare by a Labour Government under pressure, wage freezes and mass unemployment, along with the uninspiring glam rock and disco that dominated the radio during the mid 1970s, proved to be the perfect breeding ground for the political and religious messages of punk and roots reggae. However, the government cuts also incited a wave of racism which swept across the country. The Nazi National Front, seeing the widespread dissatisfaction, offered a scapegoat through anti-immigration and racist campaigns. In this ordinary London street, we see two very different bands uniting against prejudice and racial hatred.
British Photography / The Hyman Collection