2016 marks the 40th anniversary of when punk reached the British public consciousness – prompting a year-long series of events across the capital in celebration of the many forms of punk culture.
Punk London sees exhibitions and events at the Barbican, BFI Southbank, British Library, Design Museum and Museum of London – and there's as much a focus on the visual culture of punk as the music that's best remembered by your average person.
While there's an inherent contradiction in a celebration of an anti-establishment movement in spaces that act as beacons of the society punk wanted to tear down, it's not confined to them. There are lots of smaller events at venues the orginators of punk were or would have been more comfortable in: the ICA or the Print Space Gallery – where the Photographic Youth Music Culture Archive is exhibiting many of the photos you can see in this story.
You can also create your own event to celebrate, subvert or pervert the legacy of punk – with access to an identity (above) created by notoriously abrasive graphic designer Neville Brody's Brody Associates.
Punk London events
(Listings provided by Punk London).
Punk Rock Hip Hop Mash-Up at Chelsea College of Arts Milbank – 19 - 31 January 2016
An exhibition of Janette Beckman's punk and hip hop photography and mash up collaborations with British and US artists featuring original iconic images of The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam and The Specials.
Tattoo London at the Museum of London – 29 January – 8 May 2016
Getting under the skin of what it’s like to be one of the capital’s top tattoo artists and see bespoke London-inspired tattoo designs. Like Punk, tattooing is one of London’s most influential subcultures and the two have long been associated.
Lost in Music at the Print Space Gallery – 5 – 17 February 2016
The Photographic Youth Music Culture Archive (PYMCA) showcase a photographic monument to the subversive and transformative nature of club culture. A testament to the hedonistic revolutionaries who continue to fuel a revolutionary sub-culture, this is a vital documentary on British music.
On|Off: London Fashion Week Punk Shows at Vinyl Factory - 19 - 21 February 2016
In the fearless pioneering spirit of punk and with explosion of colour and vibrant rhythmic flavour, On|Off will light up its home in the heart of Soho celebrating the very best of emerging talent, both on and off the London Fashion Week schedule and return to the Vinyl Factory with these very special punk shows.
Doc´n Roll Films Presents Sounds of London - February – March 2016
As part of a season of cinematic examination of the capital’s musical history, the Sounds of London programme features Q&As with some of Punk’s key figures, as well as the world premiere of Here To Be Heard: The Story of the Slits.
Rockarchive’s A Chuck of Punk at Barbican Music Library – 2 March – 28 April 2016
Rockarchive founder and world renowned music photographer, Jill Furmanovsky, opens her archive to share her mainly unseen collection of anarchic Punk images. Featuring The Buzzocks, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and many more, A Chunk of Punk is a photographic celebration of 1970's subversive culture.
Dennis Morris: PiL - First Issue to Metal Box at the ICA: 22 March – 17 May 2016
As designer of the iconic PiL logo, as well as their first single, album and famous Metal Box, this exhibition focuses on the seminal work Dennis Morris undertook with John Lydon’s PiL between 1978 and 1979.
Punk 1976-78 at the British Library: 13 May to 19 September 2016
Starting with the impact of the Sex Pistols in 1976, this free exhibition will explore punk’s early days in the capital and reveal how its remarkable influence spread across music, fashion, print and graphic styles nationwide. Showcasing a range of fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves from the British Library’s collections alongside rare material from the Jon Savage Archive at Liverpool John Moores University, Punk 1976-78 will celebrate the enduring influence of punk as a radical musical, artistic and political movement.
Stoke Newington Literary Festival: 3-5 June 2016
The festival will host a series of events featuring some of Britain’s most influential writers and cultural commentators. As well as looking at Hackney’s role in the birth of the punk movement (Malcolm McLaren and Sid Vicious grew up in and around Stoke Newington), it will explore the relationship between punk, reggae & ska, how it influenced – and continues to influence - fashion, film, design and politics way beyond its brief but incendiary years in the spotlight.
Punk fashion exhibition at London Collections: Men: 10 -13 June 2016
London Collections: Men will celebrate punk with an exhibition featuring contemporaneous punk fashion as well as many examples of the way in which it has influenced fashion in the last forty years. Every magazine from i-D to Dazed owes at least something to the youth quake of punk, while its influence can be seen everywhere from Vogue to Vice, and in collections from Alexander McQueen to Katie Eary.
Punk display at the Museum of London – June and July 2016
Held in Show Space, the museum’s topical display area, this display of clothes, fanzines, photographs and ephemera will focus on the quotidian, highlighting the cultural expression that came to define punk in the every day. Early in 2016 the museum will work with Central Saint Martin’s students to find surviving punk objects to add to the museum’s existing collection.
Punk Weekender at The Photographers’ Gallery: 23-26 June 2016
The Punk Weekender comprises an exhibition of iconic images from photographers Derek Ridgers, Anita Corbin and the PYMCA Archive, plus an exclusive performance from punk legends The Raincoats. There are also talks and events celebrating the spontaneity, spirit and diversity of punk culture and its presence within Soho. TPG’s programme explores how and why the DIY/avant-garde spirit led to a range of punk subcultures and a reinvention of personal identity and expression.
Punk Fest at the Design Museum: 25 and 26 June 2016
With this much-loved institution closing its Shad Thames doors in 2016, what better way to end than with two days of creative disruption celebrating of one of London’s most distinctive design movements, with fanzine-making workshops, music, spoken word and other events shaping a fitting last weekend for museum.
Punk Weekender at the Roundhouse: 9 and 10 July 2016
Almost 40 years on since the Ramones played their seminal gig at the Roundhouse there will be two days of music and spoken word fuelled by and rooted in the vitality and energy of punk. With world-class poetry, prose and musical programming celebrating the legacy and continuing influence of Punk including a Women in Punk day in partnership with the British Library.
Don Letts presents Punk on Film at BFI Southbank: August 2016
Throughout August 2016 BFI Southbank will host a season of films curated by the film director, DJ and musician Don Letts. The season will draw much needed attention to the diversity of the punk movement through a broad range of documentary and archive footage, as well as a special African Odysseys event highlighting the intersections between the Jamaican music scene and punk. With contributions from key commentators, and an exciting selection of films, some rarely seen on the big screen, the BFI Southbank’s PUNK season will be a highlight of the PUNK London celebrations. The full programme for the season will be announced in the Spring, but in the meantime head to BFI Player to watch Punks on the Kings Road in a free short film Death is Their Destiny featuring Vivienne Westwood and The Slits singer Ari Up.
Rough Trade 40 in-store and venue gigs: March to October 2016
Opening in 1976, the Rough Trade shop became a true cornerstone of punk – a shop, label, independent distributor, radical meeting place and much more. In honour of the shop’s 40th anniversary, they will host a series of collaborative events, celebrating the participatory camaraderie of both the shop and punk’s original spirit.