If you were visit Amazon, and to enter the search term ‘punk’ within the Books section you would be offered a bewildering array of titles, some 3630 to be precise – with titles that range from the bizarre such as ‘Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book’ which is a traditional children’s activity book featuring word searches, drawing games and a colour-me in section right through to ‘Punk Rock Yoga Manifesto: Look, Work, Accept, Transcend’ and on to the academic such as Roger Sabin’s ‘Punk Rock: So What? The Cultural Legacy of Punk’.
Amazon have also included titles yet to be published including future works from Vincent Berniere and Jon Savage; Savage, the author of ‘England’s Dreaming’ is oft cited as writing the definitive book on the subject.
So which book should you consider? LTW boss John Robb, himself responsible for the rather fine ‘Punk Rock: An Oral History’ pondered this question back in November 2011 when he compiled a ‘Top 20 books about Punk Rock’ listing – however with the forthcoming release of Sheila Rock’s forthcoming photographic book ‘PUNK+’ he may well need to re-visit his selection.
The anti-fashion phenomenon that transformed contemporary culture
Legendary fashion emporium Browns plays host this April to the launch of ‘Punk+’, an independently produced, limited edition, superb quality book that presents a fresh view of the punk movement, through the lens of renowned photographer Sheila Rock.
Rock was in at the start and as such was party to numerous intimate moments of the fledgling punk. Her unique perspective comes through her portraits of influential acts including the Clash, The Jam, Generation X, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Subway Sect, The Damned and Buzzcocks. She also documented some notorious yet till now unseen events in punk history such as The Moors Murderers rehearsals.
Punk+ chronicles both the designer and street styles that emerged between 1976-9, styles that had such an effect on fashion, society and politics, including Vivienne Westwood’s shop SEX as well as BOY, Robot and Acme Attractions. It is a fascinating insight into one of the most influential transformations of music and celebrates the scenesters who were the punk audience, and the designers that clothed the movement. As Paul Simonon (The Clash) comments: “This book is a great photographic record of a major shift in British street fashion”.
Sheila’s conversations with Chrissie Hynde, Tony James, Don Letts, Jeanette Lee, Glen Matlock, Chris Salewicz, Jon Savage, Steven Severin, Paul Simonon, Jah Wobble and more, provide an illuminating commentary on the punk phenomenon. As she observes “Punk was all about changing and surviving”.
‘Punk+’ is set to be published in a strictly limited print run of just 2000 numbered and signed books, which will include 300 deluxe versions exclusively available through First Third Books website.
A launch and photo exhibition is to take place at Browns, South Molton Street London W1 on the 25th April 2013.
Rock has also confirmed a book signing and Q&A session at Rough Trade East on the 29th May 2013
Work from Punk+ is also set to appear at a selection of forthcoming exhibitions;
Quartier 206, Berlin
Sheila Rock Music Portraits, 2013
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition catalogue, May 2013
USA-born, Sheila has lived in London since 1970. Her photographic career took off in 1980 on THE FACE magazine.
Sheila exhibits regularly in London and internationally. Her portrait work includes a wide range of entertainment and music glitterati, and her editorial work appears in publications from Vogue to The Sunday Times. Her work can also be found in the permanent collection of London’s National Portrait Gallery.