[KING MOB]. It Was Meant To Be Great But It’s Horrible” Confessions: S. Claus 1968 . n.p. [London, United Kingdom]: n.p. [King Mob], n.d. [Dec. 1968]. 1 p. (two-sided); 21 x 34 cm.; black ink on white stock. 1 p.; ill.; 21 x 34 cm.; black ink on white stock
Description below courtesy of bookseller Andrew Sclanders at beatbooks. See here. I could not have written a better description of this item.
“Written by Dave Wise and Ian and Diana Clegg, and distributed to shoppers in Oxford Street by King Mob during their anti-consumer intervention at Selfridges department store in December 1968. Text, with Christmas decorative illustrations designed by Dave Wise.
A King Mob contingent (including Fred Vermorel and Malcolm McLaren) visited Selfridges during Christmas 1968 and, with an amphetamine-fueled Ben Trueman dressed as Santa Claus, proceeded to give away free gifts to children. After the police were called, ‘Santa’ was arrested and the kids were made to give their presents back.
The texts reads [in part]: “It’s lights out on Oxford Street this year. No more midnight neon. No more conspicuous glitter for compulsive sightseers to gawp at the wonders of capitalism…You don’t deserve Christmas this year. You haven’t worked hard enough. You haven’t trotted fast enough through the in-put, out-put, clock-on, clock-off, the vicious circle of production and consumption. Save and spend, screw yourselves into the ground in preparation for the one time in the year when you’re allowed to let go, feast yourselves, overreach yourselves in a frenzied effort to enjoy – and spew it up afterwards”.
McLaren, who incorporated King Mob’s ideas into his promotion of the Sex Pistols (he based his ragged handwritten ‘Anarchy in the UK Christmas Day’ flyer for their Christmas 1977 concert in Huddersfield on this broadside), later mythologized the event in his 1991 film, ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’ (Beatbooks)
See David Wise – King Mob: A critical Hidden History, p. 232
We locate a copy at the Tate (part of the King Mob collection) and another one at Yale.