This is why I feel punk was a British phenomenon, with the key bands being English and Irish, as although American kids seemed to embrace it, it was in the US that punk, represented by its most famous leaders The Sex Pistols went to die, in the elephants graveyard of the country and western bars of small towns and crowds with smaller mindsets. It was these places that Pistols manager Malcom McLaren thought he’d mine gold rather than play New York and although the newspaper headlines were 24 carat, the rich seam he was digging for soon caved in on all who dug it.
This dying of the light is exactly what the film D.O.A.: A Right of Passage documents. The film, which was originally released in 1981 and is directed by filmmaker Lech Kowalski, takes the pulse of the late 70s punk scene when the Sex Pistols began to implode and American punk bands and performers were on the rise. It is now getting a much-needed release on DVD and Blue-ray.
And it’s a Shakespearian tragedy where key players, quite literally, don’t make it to the final encore but the cord(s) they struck still echo through to today. This is the film where we see Sid and Nancy, the Romeo and Juliet of punk (a term Shakespeare brought to the masses) as they really were; not just star-crossed lovers but puppets whose strings were about to be cut. This pair sum up the difference I was pointing out earlier. Spungen is the US—the brash up-taker of the band and their music who sees Sid Vicious as not only her prince but her ticket to the ball, although the clock was about to strike 12 for both of them.