Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A direct assault on the media

It baffled me why John Lydon suddenly appeared to be ubiquitous - until I realised he had a new book out, just in time for Christmas. So much for smashing the system.

In a Radio 4 encounter with John Humphrys, Lydon claimed to have waged "a direct assault on mediocrity" and "absolutely completely changed the face of pop music" in the late 1970s, but, when his failure to change society was mentioned, dismissively branded Humphrys "a silly sausage". At least there doesn't appear to be any prospect of The Sex Pistols: The Musical, with Lydon commenting "I certainly don't want a bunch of strangers contemplating my navel".

Quite how Humphrys might have responded to a kiss on the cheek from his interviewee is anyone's guess, but on Newsnight Andrew Neil proved the consummate professional and held it together despite Lydon's antics. Maybe things would have turned out differently for The Sex Pistols if Bill Grundy had received a smooch rather than a volley of abuse.

Meanwhile, the Guardian got Lydon to conduct a webchat and then compiled his best responses - which included labelling Russell Brand as "arsehole number one" and describing UKIP as "a black hole for the ignorant to fall into". The paper also carried John Harris' review of Lydon's book, Anger Is An Energy, which did a good job of convincing me that it would be a sound investment regardless of how likeable its author is as an individual, and that it might make a good companion-piece to Jon Savage's England's Dreaming.

Coincidentally, I've been listening to a lot of Public Image's first album of late. Suffice to say that 'Theme' is quite a way to introduce yourselves - and a serious statement of intent as regards a new direction veering away from The Sex Pistols and into post-punk. That said, for a long time I thought Lydon was singing "I wish I could fly" - turns out it's actually "I wish I could die". Orville the Duck would have been a slightly darker creation if Keith Harris hadn't also misheard the lyrics...

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