It’s 40 years since the release of the Buzzcocks’ first single Orgasm Addict, an occasion which is to be marked by a celebratory gig by the local punk legends and a series of events.
It’s an opportunity to learn more about the the influential Bolton band and to find out about the history behind the 1977 single and its iconic record sleeve, one of the most controversial of its time.
The montage by the artist Linder Sterling featured a naked torso to which designer Malcolm Garrett added some colour and turned upside down.
This was Garrett’s second piece of commissioned artwork for the band, a distinctive graphic style that stood out from the punk visual norm. The original artwork has featured in a postmodernism exhibition at the V&A.
He first worked with the band whilst he was studying at Manchester Polytechnic – now Manchester School of Art – and went on to create designs for many other musicians including Duran Duran and Boy George.
You can see a selection of his designs for the Buzzcocks from 1977–2017 at PLANT NOMA, the pop-up studio at Sadler’s Yard, just a short walk from Manchester’s Victoria Station from 11th – 22nd October
“The message of Buzzcocks in 1977 was empowering and it was timeless,” says Garrett.
“For me, it was also an opportunity to collaborate with others, including the band and other artists such as Linder (Sterling), and that collaborative approach has remained at the heart of my work ever since.
“It is exciting to see how these ideas continue to be relevant and influence young creatives today – including in projects like the Pilcrow and PLANT.”
The Buzzcocks play the O2 Manchester Ritz on 19 October, with support from contemporary all-female Manchester punk band PINS who collaborated with Iggy Pop on their Bad Thing EP and opened for Sleater-Kinney on the UK leg of their of their 2015 tour.
Other events include Orgasm Addict Reframed in which Buzzcocks fans and leading designers from across the world including Michael C Place, Craig Oldham, DR.ME, Swifty and Judy Blame, together with a new generation of creatives, offer their versions of the controversial Orgasm Addict sleeve. The results will be on show at venues throughout the city during the festival. What could possibly go wrong?
The final event is an exhibition about Buzzcocks 1976–1977 at the University of Bolton. Time’s Up will focus on the original line-up with Howard Devoto as lead vocalist until 1977, when he left and Pete Shelley became chief singer-songwriter.
Why Bolton? It’s where the band was formed in 1976 when it was Bolton Institute of Technology.
The events are the first to be announced as part of DM17 (Design Manchester 2017) – Manchester’s annual festival of creativity and design – running from 11-22 October 2017.
This year it will feature over 50 events including talks, exhibitions, workshops, films, a design fair and parties at venues throughout the city.