1972 - 1979 | LET IT ROCK, SEDITIONARIES & EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN | FOOTWEAR FOR THE REST OF US

The oral history of the style revolution at 430 King's Road - Chelsea - London. 


1973 | Grey Suede Lace-up Diano
On sale at Let It Rock | Ordered by Malcolm McLaren from George Cox
Source: Paul Gorman

The attraction with (the store) Let It Rock was they sold brothel creepers that you couldn’t get anywhere else. They had a jukebox in the corner which had quite good stuff on it. They basically sold drapes and brothel creepers, and the selection on the other side was all rubber gear and bondage stuff ...
Gene October - vocals, Chelsea [1]


1972 | Malcom McLaren outside Let It Rock | Detail
430 King's Road, London | Photograph: Mirrorpix
Source: Paul Gorman

I remember when (the store SEX) was Let It Rock and it used to sell clothes to Teddy boys. Malcolm and Vivienne were really a pair of shysters: they would sell anything to any trend that they could grab onto.
Johnny (Rotten) Lydon - vocals, Sex Pistols/Public Image Limited [1] 


... even cowboy boots
Malcolm McLaren inside Let It Rock
Source: Seditionaires

During the pre-SEX days, Malcolm and Vivienne (Westwood) sold sex aids to dull people as well as Teddy Boy gear and the Bowie-esque puffed shoulder blouse tops. They also had fifties’ rip-offs like pegged pants and smooth slip-on shoes. It would be the same old cut from the fifties, but their angle would be to make the pants pink instead of black or the shoes gold instead of brown or blue. I would buy from the shop occasionally, but that would only be part of my mix and match. I’d buy clothes everywhere, and it would always deeply annoy Malcolm and Vivienne
Johnny (Rotten) Lydon [2] 


1976 | Johnny Rotten Lydon at the 100 Club
Shod in George Cox (mod. 3705)
Source: George Cox

I had a stall on the Kings Road with Lloyd Johnson, between the Roebuck pub and the SEX shop. I used to see Malcolm and Vivienne in the shop – a friend of mine called Alan Jones [5] used to take me in. He was working there at the time. The first time I went into the shop it was called Let It Rock. An incredibly intimidating shop. The sales staff treated you abysmally – if you were lucky they ignored you! It was like a very exclusive club, almost religious. I was intrigued. I did buy a T-shirt there immediately, which cost £15, a week’s wages.
Nils Stevenson - Manager, early Pistols/Siouxie & The Banshees [1]


Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die
Source: Paul Gorman

I was into the Roxy Music glamour thing. I then discovered the Sex shop, where they were doing it in a different way. I was looking for a pair of brothel creepers and I heard rumours of a Teddy boy shop in the Kings Road. The SEX shop was called Too Fast to Live then. It had a big skull-and-crossbones outside. I walked in the first time and I didn’t know you were meant to be scared! [laughs].
Marco Pirroni - guitar, Adam And The Ants, Siouxie & The Banshees [1]


SEX
430 King's Road, London
Source: Seditionaires

Ever the fashion victim, it was Sid (Vicious) who’d heard about this outrageous clothes store called SEX, and suggested we go and check it out. There were a couple of expeditions walking up and down the King’s Road before we actually found it. Someone could have said, it’s at the farthest end, away from anything useful. Us being young and silly, we didn’t put the dots together. But once we got there . . This would’ve been mid-1975, and in those days it was still selling Teddy boy gear. That was the main financial gain – really special Teddy boy outfits, and of course the brothel creepers.
Johnny (Rotten) Lydon [3]



1975 | Kevin Coyne | Matching Head And Feet | Virgin Records
Source: Discogs

I’m always trying on the shoes and boots in the shop. One time there was a pair of red ankle boots shaped like buckets, a bit fetishy but too ugly to be sexy, on a shelf. They’d been there for ages and Vivienne was musing out loud about how surprised she was that nobody had bought them because she thought they were beautiful. Then she turned to me and said, ‘You should get them, Viviane, they’ll look good on you.’ I looked at these hideous boots, not convinced at all, but I had to try them on; she insisted. They made my legs look fantastic. I still thought they were too expensive and very odd-looking but I bought them anyway, I couldn’t say no to Vivienne twice. I still wear those boots. They’re my favourite item of clothing.
Viv Albertine - guitar - vocals, The Slits [4]


2014 | Viv Albertine
Shod in SEX boots by Vivienne Westwood
Photograph: Carolina Ambida
Source: Viv Albertine

I was into the Roxy Music glamour thing. I then discovered the Sex shop, where they were doing it in a different way. I was looking for a pair of brothel creepers and I heard rumours of a Teddy boy shop in the Kings Road. The SEX shop was called Too Fast to Live then. It had a big skull-and-crossbones outside. I walked in the first time and I didn’t know you were meant to be scared! [laughs].
Marco Pirroni - guitar, Adam And The Ants, Siouxie & The Banshees [1]


Source: Seditionaires

We went down to the shop and saw all the SEX stuff in it. I really liked it, but it was just too dear. There was no way we could afford it. I did have a shirt from there when it was Let It Rock. It was the only place that sold original Sixties shirts so I’d already bought stuff there. The jukebox had some great music you never heard anywhere, like Nico.
Vic Godard - vocals, Subway Sect [1]


Source: Seditionaires

AFTERWORDS

I didn’t go down to SEX with thirty bob and buy my whole punk outfit. I picked up bits and pieces every week. The 1976 punk look was a mixture of absolutely everything. A lot of Ted, a lot of rocker, a lot of fetish stuff, transvestite sort of stuff, a bit of mod, and a lot of glam. That’s what it was.
Marco Pirroni - guitar, Adam And The Ants, Siouxie & The Banshees [2]

I hate that Seditionaries/Kings Road bollocks, apart from a couple of the Pistols who were nice blokes. People who went in that shop were buying £200 bondage suits. Imagine what that is in today’s money. The only people who could afford them were posh c***s. They walked around with £200 bondage suits telling everyone else they weren’t proper punk! F**k ’em! That’s ridiculous.
Captain Sensible - bass, guitar, The Damned [1]



CREDITS

[1] Text from Punk Rock. An Oral History by John Robb (Ebury Press, 2006)

[2] Text from Rotten. No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs by John Lydon With Keith And Kent Zimmerman (Plexus Publishing LTD, 1994)

[3] Text from Anger Is An Energy. My Life Uncensored by Johnny Lydon With Andrew Perry (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

[4] Text from Clothes Music Boys by Viv Albertine (Faber & Faber 2014)


Source: Seditionaires


 

Archive

Follow by Email