Friday, November 09, 2007

John Lydon in character

Today's Daily Telegraph carries an interview with John Lydon, for which he appears to have turned up in character:

Today, he is swathed head to toe in a riot of red tartan - part shell suit, part updated bondage chic. His hair is short, orange and spikey, just like the old days. The teeth aren't looking too off-colour, although there are one or two missing.

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:
Lydon [...] fixes me with a glare which has lost none of its withering force down the years. "How do you prepare for telling the truth?" he asks, ominously.

So what's the righteous target for the 07 model of Johnny Rotten?
The first thing I saw this morning on TV," he cackles, "was a whole lot of your pop bands. McFly, hahaha. Is all that really still going on? It's all dippy and Blue Peter - done with sticky-backed plastic. And you've all rolled over for it. We didn't back then. What's wrong with you lot?"

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:
The Pete Doherty brigade get equally short shrift: "They're all got up like Sid Vicious, and poor Sid hadn't got a clue how to dress!"

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.
He soon digresses into a lengthy tirade against the Blair/Brown axis, and the new stadium of his beloved Arsenal ("Now I have to sit with accountants and nice boys from Tring!").

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:
We wrote them a note, a saucy little reminder: don't vote us into your museum, we're very much alive. They're trying to bury us, and make us into a safe commodity. Not possible. Won't work."

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:
Then, three years ago, in a characteristic effort to wrong-foot his detractors, he appeared on the TV reality show, I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, which he walked out of after 11 days.

"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.


Random R&B Bitch On The Hook said...

This kind of music "journalism" really makes my blood boil. Swooning pieces which for all intents and purposes are indistinguishable from an artist's official press release. It should have a black bar reading "ADVERTISEMENT" at the top of the page.

karlt said...

Careful Simon- you know what happens when you're snippy about John Lydon. He invented punk, you know.

Rachel Summers said...

The older I get, the more convinced I am that the Sex Pistols in general (Vicious and Rotten in particular) are one of the most overrated sacred cow-bands in music.

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