The seminal punk t-shirt – the love/hate list entitled You’re gonna wake up one morning and know which side of the bed you’ve been lying on! – has been revived.
The original was worn by the Sex Pistols and created by their manager Malcolm McLaren (with input from friend Gerry Goldstein and future manager of The Clash Bernie Rhodes). A delibarately divisive account of contemporary British culture, it was sold at McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop Sex at 430 King’s Road from November 1974; one side laid waste to sacred cows from Bryan Ferry and Vogue to Rod Stewart and Biba, while the other praised then-cult figures such as Bob Marley, Iggy Pop and “Kutie Jones & his Sex Pistols”.
The t-shirt also sparked the formation of The Clash; Rhodes spotted guitarist Mick Jones wearing one at a gig by glam/cabaret band Deaf School in September 1975, and offered to manage him on the spot.The new version has been lurking around for a year or so and is for sale via the British Library shop.
Modeling it in his column in The Guardian, Alexis Petridis credits it to “a secretive cabal linked to The Clash” – the band’s biographer Pat Gilbert certainly had a hand in it.
//Glen Matlock in You’re Gonna Wake Up at an early Pistols gig//
Of course, this version can’t hold a candle to the original. Among those who receive the thumbs up are, naturally, The Clash. Hardly subversive; tantamount, in fact, to the original coming out in favour of Rod Stewart in the year of it’s creation.
//Petridis models the new version//
As Petridis points out, this is mild-mannered stuff: “children and adults with good manners ” and “staying at home and reading books” are worthwhile activities, apparently, while “DIY” is not.
//Pistols drummer Paul Cook in an original//
The “cabal” have failed to grasp the impact of the original. The Lettrist concept didn’t just convey a message; it was also a pure and exciting graphic design. When worn with the rest of the lines designed at the shop – skin-tight plastic-pocketed Sex jeans, Jodhpur boots, lurex jackets, mohair sweaters – it made for a highly unusual fashion statement, particularly when adorned with the shop’s label. As pointed out by blogger Toby Walker, the placement of these later became an integral part of the 430 designs.
You’re Gonna Wake Up is just one example of McLaren picking up on the annexation of text in fine art circles and pushing it onto the King’s Road to test political, social and sexual boundaries. In THE LOOK he confirms that Vivienne Westwood had no involvement in the design or compilation of the shirt, but that he and Rhodes conceived the idea with contributions from others.
//Nigel Waymouth lined up with Andy Warhol and Ossie Clark//
Rhodes told THE LOOK last year he alone was responsible for You’re Gonna Wake Up. That’s as maybe. Among the targets were the neighbouring King’s Road shop Granny Takes A Trip and one of it’s founders, Nigel Waymouth. Rhodes’ claim to have worked there in the 60s is disputed by Waymouth while his partner in the store, John Pearse grinned ironically: “Didn’t Bernie start Granny Takes A Trip?” when quizzed by THE LOOK last month.
Meanwhile, the woeful Word-created “Pop Philosopher” tees Rhodes has touted of late make a poor case for his claim as sole originator of You’re Gonna Wake Up. By his own admission, he was not involved in the realisation of the rest of McLaren & Westwood’s brilliant 70s graphics collection, which scorched the retina of popular culture with such images as the two cowboys, the so-called “tits tee”, Vive Le Rock and Destroy.
As McLaren says in THE LOOK, the idea of the original was to cause embarassment and controversy among those who inhabited the Chelsea scene surrounding his shop.
“None of that happened, of course,” he adds. “It didn’t matter what side of the bed you were lying on, as long as you were lying on it. Everybody from (author/actress) Anne Lambton to (Sex Pistols guitarist) Kutie Jones to (socialite and writer) Anthony Haden-Guest – they were all so flattered. Just goes to show how everyone loves to have their moment – good, bad or indifferent.”
For the full story of You’re Gonna Wake Up and the 430 King’s Road t-shirts read THE LOOK.
Further amusement can be found at a site cruelly parodying Bernie Rhodes’ pompous pronouncements, while Mick Jones is now in the excellent Carbon/Silicon with Tony James, who accompanied him to that fateful Deaf School gig.