The Secret Public, an art fanzine, is one of the primary aesthetic lynchpins in the Manchester punk style. The zine is also an important testament to the early days in the career of fine artist Linder Sterling, whose collection now rests at the Tate, and award-winning author Jon Savage, who later wrote one of the key texts on British punk, England’s Dreaming.
Jon Savage and Linder Sterling published The Secret Public in Manchester during the first month of 1978. It was the second New Hormones product– catalogue number ORG 2– after the Buzzcocks’ already iconic “Spiral Scratch,” and was distributed through Rough Trade and other independent outlets. This was followed by the portfolio Mixed Media Montages published in late 1978. Some of these images originally appeared as flyers and as posters for the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Magazine and Factory Records circa 1977-1980.
Alongside Linder and Savage’s publications, original montages and collages, original posters, flyers and handbills, ephemera from the assembly process were exhibited.
Also on view, were Jon Savage’s photographs of urban decay in London and Manchester circa 1977/1978, some of which provided the basis for his collages and montages, as were Linder’s photographs of the underground working man’s transvestite club, Mr. Dickens, circa 1976.
There was a DJ set by Jon Savage on May the 10th, 2010, playing music of the era that influenced the work. A talk by Savage took place on the following day.
Boo-Hooray published The Secret Public – The Montage Art of Jon Savage and Linder Sterling, limited to 500 copies. We also published two different artists’ editions, a silkscreen deluxe portfolio edition of The Secret Public, and also an artists’ book edition of Jon Savage’s proto-zine London’s Outrage #2, in a single accordion fold with a silkscreen cover and acetate slipcase.