Let it RIP: Malcolm McLaren bows out in punk style

THE Sex Pistols called upon God to Save The Queen, but the Almighty wasn't invited to the funeral of the band's manager, Malcolm McLaren. It began at a deconsecrated church where his coffin bore the slogan: "Too fast to live, too young to die".

• Malcolm McLaren's spraypainted coffin bore the legend 'Too fast to live, too young to die', and mourners were encouraged to take part in a 'minute of mayhem'. Picture: Getty

In tribute to the mastermind behind punk, mourners across Britain were yesterday asked to participate in a "minute of mayhem" at noon and play their favourite song extra loud or, as McLaren's son, Ben Westwood, said: "let it RIP".

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Mourners at St Mary Magdalene Church in Camden, who included McLaren's former partner Dame Vivienne Westwood, friend Sir Bob Geldof and Sex Pistols' drummer Paul Cook, sang along to McLaren's recording of Max Bygraves' You Need Hands.

The 200-strong funeral party was also encouraged to dance around and throw up their hands, which many of them did – as well as shedding a tear. McLaren's spray-painted black coffin was carried out of the church to the strains of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious' version of Frank Sinatra's My Way.

The slogan on the coffin was the name of McLaren's shop on King's Road – London's centre of punk fashion in the 1970s – before it was renamed "Sex". He owned the shop with fashion designer Westwood, who paid tribute to her former partner and the father of her son Joseph Corr. She told how they had met through her brother, and how he had helped her make jewellery for her market stall.

"I was teaching and I had a little boy, and he used to keep me awake – I was absolutely exhausted and he insisted on telling me his life story all the time. I never told him mine," she said to laughter.

She reflected on the culture of rebellion which ran through the punk movement, but concluded that rebellion needed ideas to continue. She said: "I am very, very sad that, unbelievably, Malcolm is dead and I just wanted to say on this cruel, cruel day … get a life, do something with it."

Mr Corr read out tributes from those who could not attend, including one from Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Joking about McLaren's fall-out with the band over royalties, the letter said: "Dear Malcolm, did you take the money with you? Is it in the coffin? Do you mind if I come back tomorrow and dig you up? I always had a soft spot for you. You showed me a lot when I was 17 … and I owe you a lot for showing me a different side to life."

As McLaren's cortge arrived in Camden, hundreds of people lined the streets. Also among mourners was McLaren's long-time friend David Johansen, of the New York Dolls, the pre-punk US band McLaren managed in the early 1970s.

Punk poet John Cooper-Clarke, 80s pop icon Adam Ant, and artists Dinos Chapman and Tracy Emin also paid their respects. Boy George, who encountered McLaren when he tried out for the band Bow Wow Wow as a teenager, sent a floral tribute in an A-shaped anarchy symbol.

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To laughter, Mr Corr recalled how his father inspired those around him – but "was never there when you needed a hand-out". He added: "I love him and I'm really proud of him."

His half-brother Ben Westwood, who was three when his mother and McLaren began a relationship, told how he had fostered their spirit of mischief. McLaren encouraged him and Mr Corr to make waterbombs from plastic bags and throw them from the roof of his grandmother's house. And they once cycled to Devon without telling anyone – on McLaren's suggestion.

Mr Westwood said McLaren "made my life interesting" and his rarely finished bedtime stories had them "in stitches".

He added: "He started off the story, this colourful story, this great story.

"He left us to fill in the second half so I think that's what I would say – his legacy is for me and for many people.

"He started something off and it's not for him to finish."