Young Flesh Required

Extract One

On 14th February, with Neil Spencer once again in attendance, the Sex Pistols caused another rumpus, this time at Andrew Logan’s Valentine’s Ball held at his rented studio. Logan, who founded the Alternative Miss World contest in 1972 (an event he is still actively involved in), was well known on London’s fashion scene, and earlier that month had encountered Malcolm and Vivienne at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), which was staging a week-long Fashion Forum for new designers. He naively allowed the conniving pair to convince him that his forthcoming ball wouldn’t be complete without a performance by the Sex Pistols. Promoting one’s charges is of course part and parcel of a manager’s role, but Malcolm had another, less altruistic, agenda. It had been he who’d invited Spencer, along with everyone else he knew in London, and – having ensured that all four band members were decked out in SEX T-shirts – he was determined to give the journalist something to write about.

When the time came for the band to take to the makeshift stage, which comprised of the set from the court scene of director Derek Jarman’s debut feature film Sebastiane, and a castle Logan had purchased from the children’s department of the recently shut down Biba store, John was nowhere to be found. Malcolm had purposely given instructions to keep the singer left outside in the cold until long after Steve, Paul and Glen had taken to the stage as he knew John had done drugs and the results could prove interesting for Jarman, who was on hand to film the proceedings on his hand-held Super 8 camera.

Snippets of the band’s performance can be seen in The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. John was off his head on a combination of speed and acid, and when Vivienne finally opened the door to allow him in, he smacked her one in the eye before heading in search of another drink. Logan’s studio had a corrugated-metal roof like an aircraft hanger, and the sound came bouncing off it, with the reverberations sending many of the sculptor’s prized works crashing to the floor. Malcolm pushed Jordan towards the stage and told her to start stripping. Jordan initially refused to go along with the scam, but relented and leapt up on stage beside John who ripped her top off, giving everyone in the room an eyeful of her pendulous breasts. Not surprisingly Spencer reached for his camera, and the resulting photo also found its way into the NME. Britain may have been slowly sinking under a mountain of debt with bankruptcies rising by a staggering 110 percent on 1973’s figures, but the Sex Pistols were on the rise.

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