Only a handful of people witnessed the first gig by the Sex Pistols, but millions more worshipped the defiant musical revolution that shook England at the end of seventies. Punk’s Dead, a new English language book brought out by the Prague-based publishers Divus, captures the punk spirit and characteristic accompanying aesthetic – expressed largely through torn-worn clothes and funny haircuts.
The book assembles the photographs of Simon Barker aka SIX, member of the legendary Bromley Contingent, who has been lucky enough to witness this buoyant period in pop cultural history. Barker was an insider and lived in St James Hotel, London’s answer to New York’s debauched hotbed of creativity Chelsea Hotel. His colourful depiction of the scene features the scene’s most famous protagonists such as Sid Vicious, Malcolm McLaren, Derek Jarman, Siouxsie Sioux and Adam Ant, and conveys the electric vibe of the fledgling punk movement.
“In 1976, when I moved into the St. James Hotel in London, I bought myself one of the cheapest pocket cameras available. Fully automatic, with no controls or settings, it just required a simple slot-in film cartridge. An idiot could use it – and I did. I knew I did’nt want to be like other photographers, so I chose never to take a black and white photograph or focus the camera. Subconsciously I concentrated on the women and artists at the heart of what would later be known as ‘punk’ in London,” says Barker. “The photos you see in it were all unplanned, spur of the moment shots taken by myself for myself and, up until now, with never a thought given to publication. In over thirty years, they have only been seen by a handful of close friends. I used to think they weren’t good enough to show people. Now I think they are almost too good.”
Punk’s Dead is accompanied by an exhibition taking place until 14 December at Divus’ Prague gallery in Bubenská 1.
When we were at the Brand & Music conference, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the must-read publication Zenei Hálózatok, the first complex analysis of the relation between music and the internet in Hungarian language. With an in-depth view on the changes of the music industry driven by online networks, studies about new mechanism and methods of music promotion, distribution, marketing and various customer behavior, we can see that the music industry seems to change quickly, but – reading this book – it doesn’t seem to be a negative thing at all.
Selecting on a wide scale of music genres, from deathcore to electronic music, Zenei Hálózatok is a comprehensive look at the present state of online presence of music. How the digital audio formats turned music-listening into a more social activity or how the roles in music industry blurred as listeners became distributors and musicians turned into their own promoters. Legal issues, technology and media are constantly adapting to the changed market requirements and customer demand, while old music industry structures still exist around them.
Zenei Hálózatok can be downloaded in the Hungarian language, but it’s also available in paper format published by L’Harmattan.