Charles Shaar Murray

Punks in Perspective

Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century


Secker & Warburg 495pp £14.95 order from our bookshop

As the poet and lyricist Pete Brown once put it: ‘Things may come and things may go, but the art school dance goes on forever.’ The particular variation of the art school dance into which Greil Marcus stumbled while pursuing his fascination with the Sex Pistols has turned into a frisky old fandango indeed; keeping his research under control must have been a task akin to hanging on to an enthusiastic rottweiler which has suddenly decided to go walkies. Lipstick Traces begins and ends with a Ray Lowry cartoon satirising Johnny Rotten, Malcolm MacLaren and the in famous Kings Road SEX boutique, but this is only fractionally more than a framing device for the book’s real agenda; by the time the MarcusTours round-trip is complete we have explored the furthest fringes of European avant-gardism via 16th-century heresy, the Paris Commune, the Cathars and The Slits.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,