The Sex Pistols: The Stolper-Wilson Collection

The Sex Pistols: The Stolper-Wilson Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 57. Jamie Reid | Working notebook, 1979.

Lot Closed

October 21, 01:56 PM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot Details


Jamie Reid

Autograph manuscript notebook, 1979

comprising sketches and notes of designs and ideas for the Sex Pistols ("...We sold out to situationism after G.S.T.Q & film..."), including the "Vicious Burger" for 'C'mon Everybody', syringe clock for 'Rock Around the Clock', and notes and designs for 'Flogging a Dead Horse', and for 'Some Product: Carri on Sex Pistols' (including possible titles such as "Anarchy is the Key – Do It Yourself is the Melody"); sketches and designs for other musical design projects including cannabis swastika for the Dead Kennedys's 'California Uber Alles' and "Damned sleeve Monster on suburban house [...] or bats over Croydon"; notes relating to the dissolution of the band ("...Last Sex Pistols album: Branson's refusal, significant, first proof of keeping the band together - supports Malcolm's case...") and problems with the development of the film; plans for an exhibition relating to the music industry; business memoranda and aide memoire, including notes on money owed, frequent calls and meeting with Malcolm McLaren, Virgin executives, Jon Savage, and others; chiefly black fibre-tip, 40 pages, in a Lion Brand Exercise book (205 x 165mm), original paper wrappers, with 9 additional pages of related notes loosely inserted, [1979]; housed in a collector's folding box; small neat repairs 

Jamie Reid had worked on visual design for the Sex Pistols from the summer of 1976, and was responsible for the striking and iconoclastic imagery that associated with the band. This notebook dates the first half of 1979: Johnny Rotten had been gone for more than a year; Sid Vicious was dead; Malcolm McLaren had lost his lawsuit with the band members, been removed from ongoing projects, and had moved to Paris to escape his debts; The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle film project was floundering. Virgin were still looking for further Sex Pistols releases. This notebook captures Reid at an increasingly difficult moment: working with Malcolm McLaren, he had been part of a radical enterprise that aimed to shock society and catalyse political change; he now found himself working for a profit-driven corporation, co-opted (like so many other youth movements) by the very industry whose cynicism he was trying to expose. Reid's work with McLaren had shown that challenging imagery and radical artistic practices could be very effective in selling records, but once the process was run by Virgin it was, as the song says, no fun.

This notebook shows Reid continuing to design Pistols artwork for Virgin as well as other punk outfits including The Damned and Dead Kennedys. These music projects connect to releases dating from the summer of 1979 onwards, which helps to date the notebook. There are also intriguing notes relating to a planned exhibition of music artwork. The notes also give strong evidence of Reid's financial worries, his difficulty extracting payment for his commissioned works, and his understandable concern that McLaren's legal dispute with the band members would prevent completion of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle film.

Jamie Reid; Jon Savage; BeatBooks/Andrew Sclanders, from whom purchased 2003

Exhibited: Hospital, London 2004; Urbis, Manchester 2005

No Future p.122