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The John Robb Tapes - Jordan

Jordan was the icon of the punk rock generation and in this entrancing interview she tells the stories - both ribald and hilarious - of that fabled era which she shares in her book, Defying Gravity

With its great gallery of characters, punk rock is one of those fabled eras of British pop culture full of a cast of mavericks that are deeply embedded into our cultural psyche.

Perhaps this eternal fascination is down to its depth - music, of course, was the core but not the whole story. Sex, style and subversion need far more than three chord tricks and, whilst always deeply entwined with guitars, bass and drums, also find revolutionary expression in art and clothes and language itself. By being her own work of art without being in a band Jordan Mooney was making another equally important revolutionary statement.

In punk rock, bands are not the whole story - this was a culture that really changed the world because it was a multi-tentacled art form that also needed sartorial icons and highly original game changers: Sartorial icons that were walking talking works of art. The key incendiary to punk was these DIY self creations of which Jordan was the true original in every way possible.

With her hair teased into spikes before anyone else, Mondrian face paint and wild clothes she was a wild and thrilling precursor who virtually invented punk rock as she served behind the counter of the Sex shop - the dominatrix rubber queen of the new London scene.

The sex pistols changed the world but equally important was Jordan whose attitude and statuesque self-made presence was a self-made work of art and whose very appearance was a dayglo reincarnation of a blank generation canvas into a work of art of her own.

Jordan was the precursor to punk and when she turned up at Malcolm Maclaren and Vivienne Westwood’s pre Sex shop, Seditionaries, she was already a self-made riot masterpiece of colour and style who danced down the Kings Road towards the then little known shop in a ballet outfit with no knickers and a head-full of her own ideas.

In this interview, which was recorded live in front of an audience in Nottingham rough trade shop, she details her amazing life as the face of the famous shop and as the icon of the punk generation and the creator of a look that resonates through the generations.

She details the many great moments in that life; from being one of the three people at Johnny Rotten’s audition in front of the shop’s legendary juke box when he sang along to Alice Cooper’s Eighteen with that awkward and acidly snark hilarious brilliance that would soon act as a clarion call to the teenagers wide awake enough to get the cultural sea change, she also tells a great tale of Adam Ant’s love letters to her when he was a blushing young Stuart Goddard. She talks too of her years working with Malcolm and Vivienne and her life in the shop and at the heart of the incoming ‘youth quake’ that she was very much part of.

She also talks of how both Andy Warhol and David Bowie sought her out after seeing her futuristic face in the media; of her inspiration for walking on the wild side and how she survived punk rock and it’s cruel and dark hangover.

Along with Cathi Unsworth, the co author of her book, Defying Gravity, she details this extraordinary period in UK pop culture with a ribald enthusiasm, a great storytelling style, a hilarity honed by Derek and Clive and an open mind that truly defies gravity.

It’s an entrancing interview with two strong and stylish women whose book is the last great story from the punk rock wars and the one that fills in all the key missing parts of the narrative.

You can listen to John Robb interviewing Jordan on the Lush Player, here.

John Robb films In Conversations for Lush, fronts his acclaimed post punk band The Membranes and is also a music writer who wrote many groundbreaking features in the late Sounds music paper.

'The John Robb Tapes' is a podcast series which unearths the incredible archive of old interviews that music journalist John Robb has amassed over the years. Listen  here .



Jordan was the true original, in every way

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