The Secret Public

Linder Sterling, Jon Savage


Edition : First / Manchester / New Hormones (ORG2) / January 1978 / Softcover. / VG+
Folio. Unpaginated (12pp). Printed wraps as issued. Numerous Black & White collages. 1000 copies published, though most were pinned on walls or destroyed. Wear to spine.

Linder Sterling and Jon Savage’s ‘The Secret Public’ could be one of the most important pieces of publishing from the punk/new wave period. Published as New Hormones no.2, no.1 being Spiral Scratch by The Buzzcocks. Linder of course is mostly known as the person behind the Buzzcocks’ Orgasm Addict sleeve and her work for Factory records, and Savage as the author of ‘England’s Dreaming’. In retrospect the groundbreaking images first seen in the Secret Public are central to the narrative of Punk/Post Punk and the Manchester scene. Jon Savage: “I now think that The Secret Public wrote its own script. It was a deliberately hermetic document that forced you to enter on its own terms. There were few concessions to any ideas of marketing and accessability. Hearts were not worn on the sleeve. It fully explored its dichotomies: cool designed outer images covering angry, savage montages, women placed in bondage but by their own design (or is that in itself a product of internalised oppression?), metropolises that offered opportunity and excitement at the same time as they ate you alive. Its impact was qualitative rather than quantitive: perhaps this is why, at its best, it has not dated at all.”

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