Punk 1976-78 exhibition at the British Library


A new exhibition opened up at the British Library on Friday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the punk genre. Earlier this week I got to have a sneak peek with some new design blogger friends.

The exhibition is all about the formation of the punk genre in the early years from 1976-78. It’s got a bunch of records, photos, t-shirts, fanzines, articles and documents from both the British Library’s collection and on loan from collectors.

It’s funny, I’ve never thought much before about how something as iconic as the punk movement started. I knew that bands like the Sex Pistols and The Ramones were at the forefront, but as for how the visual aesthetics we identify as punk today came to be—like cut-and-paste graphic design for example—I didn’t know who led the way with that. It was fascinating to see the beginnings of these now defining ‘punk’ things on display all together in a sort of timeline.




While I’ll always be more of a pop-punk/emo kid than a true punk rocker, I love so many things about the punk attitude, in particular its DIY nature. One of my favourite things in the exhibition was a record sleeve from TV Personalities (above) that featured instructions for how to get your own records pressed. Punk is about independence and having a strong point of view; two things I can 100% get behind. It was great to see where it all started.




After being taken around the exhibition by one of the curators we hung out in the pop-up punk shop that features loads of reissued vinyl, prints, books, t-shirts and other punk themed bits and pieces. It also had a photo booth that myself and my new blogger friends made use of (our ‘band photo’ on the right involved quick swaps in the photo booth in the three seconds between each photo being taken).

It was a fun night, and I came away wanting to create a handmade zine or two… Perhaps a project for the summer.

If you’re in London between now and October, go check it out at the British Library and get some inspiration for yourself. It’s free! And the shop itself is worth a visit too.

Thanks to Natasha of Graphique Fantastique for getting me an invite to this opening. She’s an awesome lady, so go check out her blog!