Music: Pretty vulnerable

Dennis Morris snapped the Sex Pistols at their peak. He captured their innocence.
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The Independent Culture
FOLLOWING HIS success on tour with Bob Marley, the precocious photographic talents of Dennis Morris, aged 17, were enlisted in 1977 to document the Sex Pistols on their infamous SPOTS tour (Sex Pistols On Tour in Secret). A selection of these photographs are now on show in "Destroy" at London's Proud Galleries.

Having caused a rumpus with their gobby disrespect for the Queen, the band had to tour surreptitiously.

Conditions were trying for Morris, to say the least. At the front of every gig, he was showered with a range of bodily excretions and continually lifted off his feet in the scrum, while throughout the year he became embroiled in the band's disputes, and on one occasion was beaten with a baseball bat when a gang crashed into Johnny Rotten's Chelsea flat.

From the crushed chaos of their concerts to the band's stolen moments of solitude, Morris's black-and-white pictures capture the doltish child in Sid Vicious, who comes across as the most good-natured of the band, and Rotten's disillusionment. Rotten carries the weight of their excess heavily, and his more erudite brand of anarchy appears stifled by his colleague's dumb indifference.

One picture of the band in concert sees Sid giggling inanely at the audience while Johnny stares at him disparagingly. Another sees Sid, with his shirt hanging open to reveal slash marks on his chest, tucking heartily into his food while Rotten rejects his and stares into the middle distance.

But Sid did have a few thoughtful moments. Morris seems to have barged in on a rare moment of privacy between Sid and Nancy backstage, and while you don't imagine that they are engaging in particularly enlightened conversation, the photograph suggests that, for a moment at least, they are both at peace.

`Destroy' is at the Proud Galleries, London WC2, until 30 Oct (0171 839 4942)