Long awaited, this September 31st opens Pistolfor the Star + platform: a six-episode miniseries which rebuilds the short-term (but long-term) career. of the Sex Pistols, these icons of British punk who not only sought to ignite the rock, fashion and customs of the 70s, but to ridicule the establishment down to its roots.
What will be the rock band, or yet another rebellious genre, that will awaken the global community from its dissatisfaction? What voices or sounds will tear the world out of its conformity? There will be a new musical movement that denounces young people and social oppressionHow did punk ever go?
Since the beginning of the Sex Pistols, their peak of glory and their decline, the imaginary Pistol bioseries advances between emotion, humor, grotesque and excessive explanation. How? Through the fast-paced style of British director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Who wants to Be a Millionaire?, 127 hours), ideal a priori to reflect these “four poor types of the working class, who did not know how to play”.
shiny and chaotic
A) Yes, Pistol he records with chaotic clarity how the Sex Pistols were the first great incarnation, in Britain, of the rough and repulsive sound of punk. The plug-in expression of a cultural and political movement whose ideas of “no future” or “do it yourself”, in a long theoretical corpus, today they are recovered (e Pistol he knows) as simple marketing phrases, devoid of their original thickness.
On the contrary, Johnny Rotten is said to have evaluated Pistol What “another disrespectful shit”perhaps due to the somewhat ridiculous characterization of his character, but there was a legal issue at stake and finally this story could be told, with the histrionic freedoms taken by Danny Boyle and the creator and screenwriter of PistolCraig Pearce.
Rightly, Boyle’s furious style is perfect for giving it that nervous tone (as if the camera were shaken by substances), but the performances operate in strident tones (from subtle and sensual to grotesque) and declarative phrases are repeated: “We are not for the music. We are for chaos. ”But free inspiration is also a punk attitude.
Trying to go to the English core of the movement, Pistol It was born in the mid-70s, in the wake of an entire generational span that did not feel represented by the consecrated rock or by the political events of the time.
The inspiring autobiography
The series throws two kicks at the influences of the Sex Pistols. On the one hand, there is the astute businessman and producer Malcom McLaren (later manager of the Sex Pistols) with the stylist Vivienne Westwood at the SEX clothing boutique (430 King’s Road, London). And how comes the pain that inspires this fiction: Steve Jonesthe guitarist of the Pistols.
In fact, the Star + miniseries takes autobiography as a document Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol, which Steve Jones edited with writer Ben Thompson in 2016. What is expressed there? How lack of opportunity, school failure, family trauma and proto-crime have brought to an England cruel to the working classes Steve Jones’ catharsis through punk.
“We are angry, bored, we try to collect change for another beer. We’re invisible and nobody gives a shit about us, ”says guitarist Steve Jones (played by Toby Wallace), who already knows how to plant his cards in two gritty scenes. And Jones concludes: “So we don’t even care about anyone“.
His early bandmates listen to him, who know that this nihilism will be his capital when it comes to connecting instruments. Jones will not fail as a singer again (due to stage fright): he will learn to play guitar by drawing riffs from The Stooges, past amphetamines, encouraged by the calculating businessman Malcolm McLaren (Thomas Brodie-Sangster).
The red-haired McLaren will be central as a promoter of the future Sex Pistols, even if every time he repeats his anti-establishment phrases he seems more of an accommodating strategist than a true advocate of social change through art and punk rock.
His partner, Vivienne Westwood (Talulah Riley), will seem more authentic in her faith from the tormented Steve Jones, the wild singer Johnny Rotten (Anson Boon), or that young drug addict who, without knowing how to play bass, asks to be admitted into the band and will become the martyr legend of punk: Sid Vicious (Louis Partridge).
Another milestone of Pistol it’s in the recreation of the live shows and fights, as well as theirs combination of fictional scenes with archival material.
Between the huge soundtrack (a corpus of unforgettable songs), the miniseries reflects the ego clash between Steve Jones, Johnny Rotten and the manipulative McLaren. And how they came to total implosion, not just because of Sid Vicious: they all found a way to burn in their own way.
One more splendor from the miniseries Pistol is in two performances, both of two ex game of Thrones. The skinny one Thomas Brodie-Sangster (in GOT he played Jojen Reed, Brandon Stark’s mentor) composes Malcolm McLaren with an elegance not devoid of humor: fully aware of the same staging that surrounds Pistol. Pure incendiary punk at the behest of Danny Boyle.
With a shorter intervention, the archifamoso Maisie Williams (Enter Arya Stark game of Thrones) plays Pamela “Jordan” Rooke, the model and actress who, from the SEX boutique to the Sex Pistols concerts, has enhanced her provocative looks, her feminist gaze and his vision of fashion as a political tool.
The real Pamela “Jordan” Rooke died at the age of 66 on April 3 this year, which is why Pistol dedicates the second episode to him, in recognition of his contribution to the collective creation of the punk look.
There will be another woman, from the SEX boutique, with central importance in this nervous collage about the origin of the Pistols. Sydney Chandler plays Chrissie Hynde, the future leader of the Pretenders and, as heard in Pistol“One of the few among all these who really knows how to play the guitar and sing”.
Whether or not he was, as a champion Pistol, Chrissie Hynde’s relationship with Steve Jones, doesn’t really matter for the purposes of fictional codes. Here Chrissie Hynde acts as a clear witness, as well as a counterweight to some insistent statements of the Star + miniseries, such as “it doesn’t matter to know how to play, the only thing that matters is how she looks”.
With the fist on the guitar and the permanent melody in the voice, Chrissie Hynde, with The Pretenders, it didn’t need to burn or fade to shake the rock establishment. She has also embraced punk forever in his heart.