Today's Daily Telegraph carries an interview with John Lydon, for which he appears to have turned up in character:
The paper gives him an easy ride, even although the very idea of the Telegraph treating Lydon to a puff piece actually negates the whole 'he's still edgy, you know' point of the article; it's on a par with getting an OBE for services to Republicanism.
We're prepared for a nihilistic punk:
So what's the righteous target for the 07 model of Johnny Rotten?
Apparently, John, there's still a massive market for boys put into bands by controlling svenagllis bouncing through some hit songs with an air of pantomime rebellion. How many nights did you sell out again?
But that's not all he's got. New indie acts get a toothless sucking:
Yes, Sid Vicious' trademark porkpie hat, nice shirt, cheap suit look. If Lydon cared, he'd have noticed that the Babyshambles look is more mod and ska than punk, but it's not like he's doing anything other than crashing through outrage-by-numbers.
Really? And whose shoulders would you expect an estate agent from California to be rubbing with, John?
The attention-grabbing refusal to attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction is trumpeted as a victory:
An estate agent telling the paper of choice for Home Counties retirees on the eve of his nostalgia tour that he can't be turned into a safe commodity. Fair enough.
Most interestingly of all, though, there's an attempt to force his appearance on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, into some sort of anarchist's cv:
"I did it because it was everything wrong. I could have ruined myself. Instead I just was myself, and I won. Anything to win? No! So I left."
It took eleven days of sitting round in the Australian jungle watching soft-porn stars and failed singers eating kangaroo testicles to work out that the programme was a bit of a circus sideshow? Wouldn't just reading the title have given a hint of that?
More to the point, Lydon's suggestion that he walked out on a principle because the show was "wrong" is something of a contradiction to his explanation at the time, which insisted it was because - having narrowly escaped being blown up over Lockerbie, he had the hump when ITV refused to tell him if his wife had shown up.
This isn't, we imagine, the last time Lydon will contradict himself in order to make himself seem more like the mythical anti-establishment figure the tabloids mistook him for in 1977. Let's hope it's the last time intelligent writers collude with him, though.