Year Of The Punk Rocks Up In London

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 34 months ago
Year Of The Punk Rocks Up In London
By the end of 2016 we're all going to look like this. Photo: Ted Polhemus

Well, gob in our general direction and call us Johnny Rotten. It's the year of the punk in London, with a slew of gigs, art exhibitions, screenings and other despicable things happening all over the capital, to celebrate 40 years since mohawks and safety pins became de rigeur. Here's our pick of the best organised chaos.  


Janette Beckman joins forces with British and US artists to create new iconic images of The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam and The Specials, as well as flaunting her archive of punk and hip hop images (Chelsea College of Arts Milbank, 19-31 January). Renowned snapper of the stars, Jill Furmanovsky, dusts down her collection of unseen punk photos at A Chunk of Punk (Barbican Music Library, 2 March-28 April), while The Raincoats soundtrack an exhibition of punky shots from Derek Ridgers, Anita Corbin and the PYMCA Archive at the Photographers' Gallery (23-26 June).

Other exhibitions

We've already inked a preview on Tattoo London at Museum of London (29 January-8 May). We also recommend the show about artist Dennis Morris and his collaborations with PiL (ICA, 22 March-17 May). One of the meatier exhibitions of the year is the Punk 1976-78 at the British Library (13 May-19 September). The free show — stuffed with fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves from the library's collections alongside rare material from the Jon Savage Archive at Liverpool John Moores University — explores how the seed of punk quickly blossomed into an entire subculture. Elsewhere, London Collections: Men (10-13 June) documents punk's influence on the togs we've worn over the past 40 years — highlighting how it's more influential than ever.

Kings Road hasn't looked like this for a while. Photo: Ted Polhemus


Pull up a ripped denim-upholstered chair and soak up films about London's punk scene at Doc'n Roll Films Presents Sounds of London (February-March). We're particularly pumped about the world premiere of Here To Be Heard: The Story of the Slits, and the showcase also features Q&As with legendary figures from the scene's history. DJ Don Letts is at the BFI throughout August, curating films that highlight the diversity of punk and detailing how the genre came to be fused with Jamaican music.


Arguably what it's all about. Expect a torrent of in-store gigs at Rough Trade (March-October), celebrating the shop's role as punk label, distributor and rendezvous. Then, on 9-10 July, the Roundhouse gets in on the action with a two-day binge of high-octane music and spoken word.

For more information and full listings visit the Punk London website. More events will be added throughout the year.

Last Updated 20 January 2016

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