Saturday, April 10, 2010

Malcolm McLaren

Following the untimely death of the arch agent provocateur of the punk scene Malcolm McLaren at the age of 64 from Mesothelioma, Graham Brown-Martin of Handheld Learning 2009 where Malcolm spoke in October of last year has paid this tribute followed by Malcolm's presentation ( hopefully uncut!). It was great to hear Malcolm speak on this occasions to hear a speaker who sees PC speak and just blasts straight through - Love him or loathe him, we sometimes right off people who don't just follow the party line - thank you Malcolm for straight talking.

We first noticed that he was unwell when arriving to give his speech at Handheld Learning 2009 when he arrived later than planned complaining of fatigue. Diagnosed with the flu he continued but soon after the conference was admitted to hospital for investigation and removal of fluid from his lungs. It was only at this point was it was understood that his condition might be symptomatic of Mesothelioma. Even when we spoke over Christmas when Malcolm was working as hard as I have ever seen him we did not know how quickly this cancer would steal him from us.

For me Malcolm was not only a friend but a mentor & confidante. His passing leaves a gap in my life but also some happy memories.

This talk from Malcolm at the Handheld Learning Conference 2009 will, I believe, stand the test of time. The speech doesn't elaborate about the period of the Sex Pistols, New York Dolls, Vivienne Westwood, his impact on design, fashion and music culture and the many other important achievements of Malcolm's life that will be reported in obituaries over the coming days. Instead and in keeping with the theme of the conference Malcolm discusses in his inimitable style - his life, learning, authenticy vs karaoke culture and what we gain from the experience of failure. Ironically, failure was something Malcolm never achieved. The talk was anything but ordinary, it polarised our audience and instantly trended globally on Twitter but what else would you expect?

Bravo and rest in peace, Malcolm!

"Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Txt Pistols" Malcolm's McLaren's "Reflections on Learning" keynote presented at the Handheld Learning Conference 2009, London. Contains mild references to adult themes and occasional use of adult language.

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