Jamie Reid obituary


The outbreak of musical and social anarchy within the UK triggered by the arrival of the Intercourse Pistols within the Seventies was not merely a musical phenomenon, however a sociological and political one too. Pivotal to the group’s tumultuous affect was the graphic design work of Jamie Reid, whose paintings for the band was as thrilling and unforgettable as their music, and who has died aged 76.

Reid’s sleeve for the November 1976 single Anarchy within the UK, with its ripped Union Jack pierced by security pins holding the band identify and tune title in blackmailer-style cut-up lettering, set the tone (Reid additionally contributed concepts to the tune’s lyrics). However his most enduring coup was the sleeve for the second single, God Save the Queen (Might 1977), depicting the monarch (and primarily based on a portait by the royal photographer Peter Grugeon) in her Silver Jubilee 12 months, blindfolded by the tune’s title, and rendered mute by having her lips sealed by the phrases “Intercourse Pistols”. The picture is now within the Nationwide Portrait Gallery.

Reid’s authentic model of the design, that includes the sovereign with a security pin via her lips and swastikas in her eyes, had been submitted to A&M information, however it didn’t survive the group’s farcical week-long tenure with the label and subsequent transfer to the Virgin label. In 2017 Reid revisited the identical visible idea with two artworks that changed the Queen’s head with Donald Trump’s, considered one of them bearing the slogan “God Save the USA”.

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God Save the Queen by the Intercourse Pistols, with a sleeve design by Jamie Reid, was launched in 1977. {Photograph}: Alamy

Document business machinations and a ban by the BBC ensured that God Save the Queen reached solely No 2, although it topped the NME chart. However the band’s solitary album, By no means Thoughts the Bollocks (1977), adorned with Reid’s unmistakable paintings in pink, yellow and black, debuted at No 1 on the UK chart, and spent 48 weeks within the High 75.

Reid’s involvement with the Pistols started when he obtained a telegram from their supervisor Malcolm McLaren, whom he had met once they have been each attending Croydon Faculty of Artwork in south London within the Nineteen Sixties. By the point of the telegram, Reid was on the Isle of Lewis within the Outer Hebrides, working for the leftwing weekly newspaper the West Highland Free Press and studying the standard artwork of crofting. Reid favored McLaren, and his Pistols work would earn him world notoriety, however he noticed it as merely a section in his profession.

As an illustration, he regarded his work with the Suburban Press in Croydon from 1970-75, the place, in collaboration with Nigel Edwards and Jeremy Brook, he produced literature for girls’s teams and anarchists, as extra important. Reid described it as “one of many first community-cum-libertarian-cum-anarchist presses in Britain”, and it additionally created {a magazine} known as the Suburban Press. It was there that he started growing his “ransom notice” visible fashion. This was “each bit as attention-grabbing to me as what I’m doing now, or the Pistols, because it had its time and its place,” he instructed the Face in 1983. Reid felt a powerful affinity with a British radical custom that included Thomas Paine, William Blake and the Romantic poets.

The son of Nora (nee Gardner) and John MacGregor Reid, he was born and grew up within the Croydon suburb of Shirley, in south London. His father, a local of Inverness, was town editor of the Every day Sketch, however each dad and mom have been steeped in socialism and left-leaning politics, and had first met at a Labour occasion rally within the Twenties. Jamie’s maternal grandfather, Robert Gardner, had written the e book In The Coronary heart of Democracy, specializing in themes of socialism, up to date literature and Christianity, and had raised Nora as a naturist (within the sense of getting an empathy with the pure world, moderately than nudism).

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Gallery assistants hanging Jamie Reid’s promotional poster for the 1977 album By no means Thoughts the Bollocks, at a preview for a Sotheby’s public sale of Intercourse Pistols memorabilia n 2022. {Photograph}: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Photographs

Jamie’s father had misplaced his earlier job at Oxford College Press after his involvement within the Common Strike of 1926, after which he labored to help hanging miners. From 1958, Jamie was taken by his dad and mom to the Aldermaston marches in opposition to nuclear weapons.

Reid’s great-uncle was George Watson MacGregor Reid, head of the Druid Order in England and founding father of the Church of the Common Bond. Reid’s lifelong connection to the druids was expressed in his Eight Fold 12 months E book (2017), a set of photographs and texts ruminating on the eight festivals within the druidic calendar.

He attended the John Ruskin grammar faculty in Croydon, then went to Wimbledon Faculty of Artwork at 15. Two years later he moved to Croydon Faculty of Artwork, the place his rapport with McLaren culminated in them organising a sit-in. Nonetheless, apathetic help from fellow college students brought on the protest to fizzle out, whereupon Reid took a visit to Paris within the fevered aftermath of the 1968 pupil riots.

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The Intercourse Pistols’ Anarchy within the UK promotional poster, designed by Jamie Reid. {Photograph}: Sotheby’s/PA

Right here, he was obsessed on the work of the situationists, a gaggle of avant-garde artists and political provocateurs whose roots lay in dadaism and surrealism. He felt that the temper in Paris “had an amazing sense of competition, an amazing sense of pleasure, and an amazing humour.”

All of this fed into his Intercourse Pistols work, combining with McLaren’s aptitude for creating outrageous publicity, however self-destruction was inevitable, certainly fascinating.

Reid had many various avenues he wished to pursue. He campaigned on a number of points, supported Extinction Rebel, created paintings for the band Afro Celt Sound System, and in 2012 sprang to the defence of the Russian feminine punk trio Pussy Riot, following their arrest for staging an anti-Putin protest in Moscow. Reid created a dramatic poster depicting a sinister Putin in black balaclava and lipstick, with textual content in his acquainted cut-up fashion.

In 2018, Reid, who had moved to Liverpool within the Nineteen Eighties, staged his first retrospective, Jamie Reid XXXXX: 50 Years of Subversion and the Spirit, on the Humber Road Gallery in Hull. In August 2022, he created Wildflower Surprise on the Misplaced Gardens of Heligan in St Austell, Cornwall, a “land-art” set up, utilizing crops similar to cornflowers, poppies and wild carrot, which ran till Might this 12 months.

Reid is survived by a daughter, Rowan, from his relationship with the actor Margi Clarke, from whom he was separated.


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