Jordan and the carnivorous plants of the English Punk
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It all started in the late 1970s in King's Road, London. Jordan is the sales clerk of the most irreverent and outrageous store in the city "Sex", by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. The store attracts musicians, artists and creatives of what will be the future English Punk scene, including the group around which everything will revolve as a planet, the "Sex Pistols"

Muse and Punk icon by Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols

Pamela Rooke, who became famous as Jordan Mooney – or simply Jordan – has died at the age of 66. With her goes one of the last living symbol of authentic English punk.

It all started in the late 1970s in King’s Road, London. Jordan is the sales clerk of the most irreverent and outrageous store in the city “Sex”, by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

The store attracts musicians, artists and creatives of what will be the future English Punk scene, including the group around which everything will revolve as a planet, the “Sex Pistols”.

The most alternative photographers who frequented the store immortalized Vivenne, Malcolm and Pamela intent on wearing the most audacious and irreverent latex clothes ever seen in London; those photos have become precious testimonies of a brief but intense era.

The English Punk scene at the end of the 70s was pulsating and lively: it broke all the observant rules of UK respectability, it didn’t learn anything from the past. It repudiated it and mocked it completely.

Punk grows naturally, like a spontaneous plant that branches out and sprouts carnivorous flowers.

Even Jordan Mooney is a carnivorous flower that grows in the Punk forest: her attitudes are unpredictable, disrespectful, outrageous. She became Westwood’s favorite model and the inspiring muse of the Sex Pistols

Together with her friends Johnny Rotten, Soo Catwoman and Siouxsie Sioux, Jordan Mooney is considered the creator of London’s Punk style; she can be said to have contributed to the fame of Westwood’s Sex Store, to the fame of the Sex Pistols and to have constitutively increased her image as a Punk icon.

Her exaggerated makeup, bold sense of style and attitude helped to coagulate the Punk aesthetic and dress it up in leather, latex, rubber and “cut” fabrics, nudity and provocative style; Jordan embodies the Sex aesthetic.

Rooke becomes a friend of the Sex Pistols: she attends concerts, goes on stage in provocative poses and scenes, and the audience begins to notice her, to talk about her; aware of her worth, McLaren urged her to make trouble wherever the Pistols played.

One of the biggest cultural contributions to the scene came when she participated as the lead in Derek Jarman’s film “Jubilee,” as a Punk girl named Amyl Nitrate.

Long before the Punk scene became Mainstream, Jordan and her friends were rewriting the book of non-rules, forging an identity that the rest of the world would follow: at just 19 years old, she left the house in black tulle skirts that left no room for imagination, or only in latex panties and thigh-high stockings, attracting verbal and – sometimes – even physical violence.

When she applied for a job at Sex, dressed only in black tights and a mac belt, Westwood hired her on the spot.

I’m not particularly fond of the word muse, because I think we were a little bit more of a team,” Jordan says.

“We tried to give the sense that the store was a place where, if you had the courage to go in, you could just walk out”

As ground zero of a musical revolution, Sex has gone down in history. Pistols bassist Glen Matlock was the Saturday salesman, while drummer Paul Cook and light-fingered guitarist Steve Jones frequented the place, attracted by its subversive appeal and easy money. By the time John Lydon – aka Johny Rotten – auditioned, punk had found its headquarters.

With the end of the Sex Pistols – which is conventionally associated with the end of the Punk scene – Jordan Mooney also decides to change his life. He leaves London in the mid-1980s, moving back to his hometown of Seaford.

She reinvented her life in the “least” punk way possible, training as a veterinary nurse and breeding cats; as she herself declared “It sounds banal but normality saved my life”.

From that period she kept her short colored hair and her “Tits” t-shirt, until her death on April 3, 2022.

Rest in Punk, Jordan Mooney

WORDS: Manuela Palma

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