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Malcolm McLaren

TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO Malcolm McLaren and Richard Hell politely faced off over “Who created punk?”—a question Lester Bangs once answered, after citing and dismissing Hell, by naming, among numerous others, himself, Lou Reed, Robert Mitchum (“the look on his face in the photo when he got busted for grass”), Pretty Boy Floyd, Theodore Roosevelt, Billy the Kid, Napoleon, Voltaire, and Lady Godiva. The occasion was a panel on punk and fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, with Hell, McLaren, the designer Stephen Sprouse, the critic Jon Savage, the curator Paul Taylor, and myself. Debbie Harry was in the audience; of course she should have been on the stage. It was the first time I’d met McLaren, who was a hero to me—as the man behind the Sex Pistols, a man whose goal, he once said, was to “create a situation where kids would be less interested in buying records than in

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