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Toxteth shock
[3 Edition]
Sunday Herald - Glasgow (UK)
Author: Words: Peter Ross Photograph: Gillian Whisker
Date: Mar 4, 2001
Start Page: 16
Abstract (Document Summary)

I'm here because Reid has an exhibition, Peace Is Tough, at The Arches in Glasgow. It's a mix of recent hung works, plus slides and video of what you might call his greatest hits, including pieces from the Sex Pistols years. As well as his iconic vandalism of Cecil Beaton's portrait of Her Maj for 1977's God Save The Queen single, Reid ripped up the Union Jack for the sleeve of Anarchy In The UK, and came up with the lurid yellow and pink cover of the controversial Never Mind The Bollocks album.

Suffice to say that Druidism is in Reid's blood. His grandfather, George Watson MacGregor Reid, was chief of the British Druid Order between 1909 and 1946. He and his white robed brethern held ceremonies at Stonehenge, where they displayed the swastika, an ancient symbol of good luck and harmony later hijacked by the Nazis. This is interesting, given the way Reid incorporated the swastika into the iconography of punk, but he doesn't have much to say on the matter other than that he was aware of the connection when, in the Silver Jubilee year of 1977, he produced an image of the Queen with swastikas instead of eyes. "I was just showing her German heritage," he grins, slyly.

Inspired by the civil disobedience that was shaking up Paris in 1968, [Malcolm McLaren] and Reid involved themselves in a sit-in of Croydon Art School. It was all over before too long, but Reid had learned a lesson that had nothing to do with gouache technique. "It made me realise that you can actually take control of your own life and change things, that you don't have to submit to being told what to do." He still believes this and over the years has involved himself in direct action to do with the poll tax, Clause 28 and the Criminal Justice [Bill Roache].

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