Christie’s recently listed for auction, priced at £4,000, a handwritten letter from Malcolm McLaren to 100 Club promoter Ron Watts, booking The Sex Pistols for the club’s two day punk festival – an event that would eventually catapult the underground movement into the mainstream consciousness.

By Ashley Gordon

“A Futile blast of colour in a futile colourless world”

Monday 20th September 1976, London.

There are moments, flashes of ignition throughout history. Tiny detonations that sometimes cause aftershocks of such glorious destruction that things can never be the same again.

Pictured below is a touch paper, a fuse held precariously close to a beckoning flame. A contract between Malcolm McLaren and Ron Watts of the 100 Club confirming the Sex Pistols will play a festival that would brand itself onto music’s biography.

That same afternoon, the Sex Pistols sign a management contract with Malcolm McLaren’s Glitterbest Ltd. This time, not just a touch paper but the pin from a grenade.

The lot description from the Christie’s website as follows:

The Sex Pistols/Malcolm McLaren

An important handwritten letter, signed, from The Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren to Ron Watts, promoter of the first Punk Festival at the 100 Club, the letter written circa September 1976, in black ballpoint pen on two pieces of lined paper with Sex rubber stamp, confirming that ‘The Sex Pistols’ will play at the 100 Club. And accept the fee of 30 of the gate above £40….Please let this letter constitute a contract between ourselves and the 100 Club. Anything more formal and businesslike I don’t possess at this stage. The band will arrive at 6 p.m., hopefully for a sound-check…; accompanied by a guest list for The Jam on headed paper inscribed in black ballpoint pen Marquee Saturday, the reverse additionally inscribed For The Jam, Received from 100 Club, Ron Watts £525.00 plus V.A.T. £42.00, total… £567 signed and dated John Weller, 27-Feb.78

2 COMMENTS

  1. An amazing piece of musical history…not seen this before…and how delightful that MM took it upon himself to suggest/request/demand that the letter would constitute a legal document. Great find

  2. A guarantee of £40 plus 30% of the door – that’s a bargain!

    If we knew the number of paying customers and the ticket price (I’m sure those bits of info are out there somewhere) we could calculate the band’s total fee…

    It would be interesting to compare that with the kind of deals bands get offered now, for gigs of a similar size – headlining a 300-odd capacity venue. Have things got better or worse?

    I see, rather meekly for a headline band, that they merely hope to get a soundcheck. They don’t insist on one one – they just hope to get one. You’d think Malcy would’ve been a bit more assertive for his boys!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here