The punk pioneer talks locking turbulent lover Malcolm McLaren in rooms and getting told off for being bourgeois – take a sneak peek inside the book here
Out now, Vivienne Westwood is a memoir from one of the most important and iconic figures in British fashion. Written in collaboration with biographer Ian Kelly, the book spans Westwood's life so far, from to her birth in the Second World War as Vivienne Isabel Swire to running the SEX boutique on the King's Road and her current political activism. Read an exclusive extract below:
“Vivienne was not immune to the violent tides around her, or averse to lashing out herself on occasion. 'She was quite punchy,' claims Steve Jones, 'she'd lock Malcolm in a cupboard... but Malcolm got a kick out of that.' 'That's a lie,' says Vivienne, 'we didn't have a cupboard. I'd lock him in rooms or slam a door at him. He goaded me – he drove me into a fury.' She also got into fights herself on occasion. 'It was at the Nashville pub, a Sex Pistols gig, and someone said to me about this stool near the stage, she said “You can't sit there,” (her boyfriend had gone to get a drink) and at the time I thought, “Well, that's not very punk, I'll sit where I like.”
I was arrogant and stroppy. I was. I wouldn't move when he came back, so he picked me up, and the stool too, and Steve Jones came over to protect me. Then Sid took off his belt, which was covered in studs, and hit this guy around the head. I immediately regretted it all. Caroline Coon said I did it deliberately – a terrible thing to say – but it was my fault.' Joe Strummer of The Clash was there, who said, 'That fight at the Nashville: that's when all the publicity got hold... I think everybody was ready to go and The Pistols were the catalyst.'
'Then at the 100 Club,' Vivienne continues, 'it all turned really violent. Sid hit Nick Kent – the NME writer who was Crisssie Hynde's boyfriend. Chrissie was a really, really close friend. I apologized to Nick and Malcolm told me off and said I was being bourgeois, so next time when I saw Nick I was unsympathetic. I followed Malcolm slavishly like that. I was wrong to be convinced by him. But I was fanatical, I do see that now: I was young.”
Watch Punk, a film created as part of our Vivienne Westwood Takeover day, where Westwood talks about inventing the movement with McLaren: