Boy scout who became Svengali of punk
Prayer book in hand, hair combed into a neat side-parting, he smiles nervously at the camera. His patterned talis (prayer shawl), immaculate bowtie and dinner suit make him the picture of a smart Jewish boy at his bar mitzvah.
The sheepish-looking 13-year-old Malcolm McLaren celebrating his coming of age in 1958 is a world away from the wild-eyed, crazy-haired pop culture Svengali sometimes credited as the "inventor" of punk rock and creator of its seminal band the Sex Pistols.
Yet this is just one of a series of image-shattering portraits in a collection of never-before-published photographs from the McLaren family album. Others show McLaren mingling with guests at the 1958 bar mitzvah, in London's Cumberland Hotel, and in one photo, the rock'n'roll rebel is even depicted in the most embarrassingly establishment guise imaginable - as a boy scout.
The photos form but part of a patchwork archive of family memorabilia to be sold by McLaren's older brother, Stuart Edwards, at Bonhams auction house this month.Mr Edwards confesses he has yet to warn his brother. "I'm now 60 years old and this is my property, so I've decided to sell it because I thought it offered an interesting slant on Malcolm," said Mr Edwards.Among the most intriguing items is an interview given by Mr Edwards for an as-yet-unpublished book. In it, he lifts the lid on a family enigma that has obsessed him and his brother: the true identity of their father, who vanished when McLaren was two years old and re-surfaced 41 years later.
McLaren senior, whose first name was Peter, is known to have been born in Cuba, but beyond that Mr Edwards insists neither he nor his brother knows anything of his history. After divorcing their mother in 1948, he disappeared, but resurfaced in 1989. Soon afterwards, McLaren and his brother located him living with a dog and a cache of firearms in an underground bunker on Romney Marshes.
The brothers were at his funeral when he died three years ago, aged 80, but they never prised from him details of his other life. Mr Edwards suspects his father was employed by the intelligence services and took advantage of the Second World War to establish a new identity, which he was later to assume full time. McLaren, who recently moved to France, was unavailable for comment. Mr Edwards, when asked what he thought his brother would make of his decision to sell the items, said: "I don't know. We are going to find out."
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