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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Often amusing and sometimes depressing, 12 Mar 2007
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This book goes into reasonable detail when looking at the life of Sid Vicious, poster-child for the simple thug or fashinable punk. It is alternately sad, compelling and hilarious.

It charts Vicious' days as a relatively sweet child, following his single mother around Europe, fatherless, but pleasant just the same. It then briefly charts his journey through adolescence, going from petulant schoolchild to wilful art student. The author's theory is that Sid's unconventional, unstable and fatherless childhood was responsible for his hatred of rules and authority, and there could be some truth in this.

It then details the period when Sid first became friendly with John Lydon at art college, one of the most important turning points in his life. It then charts his journey as a fan, one of the notorious 'Bromley Contingent', follwoing the Pistols every move during their early days, with Lydon at the helm, and Glen Matlock still on bass. Then this book explains how it came to pass that Sid ended up as bassist, and briefly hints at the opportunist and exploitative nature of Malcolm McLaren, though not nearly enough for my liking.

This book contains many humourous moments, including one particularly hilarious part of the young Sid's life, when he and Lydon would busk in London, Sid with an acoustic guitar he couldn't play and Lydon on an out-of-tune fiddle which he was similarly useless on. The two would then bemuse onlookers by hollering out the same Alice Cooper song on a constant cycle. This is decribed very well; one of the books definite laugh out loud moments.

However, from the moment Sid joins the Pistols, the book heads into sordid territory, almost from the word go. Very soon after joining, Sid made the transition from reasonably harmless clown to chain-wielding, glass-smashing yob, with a ferocious appetite for alcohol and drugs. The book does detail this very vividly, and tells of how the despicable Johnny Thunders introduced Sid to Heroin, a habit which was nurtured by the equally loathsome Nancy Spundgen, who, along with Lydon, would have the most profound effect on Sid's life, though more for the worst.

The author's description of Sid and Nancy's drug-induced haze of sex and violence is hellish and repellent, a strong adverisement for steering as well clear of drugs as possible. The book recounts Sid's reckless violence, self-mutilation and thirst for excessive hedonism, and his fellow band members despair at Sid's behaviour. None of which was helped by the gormless McLaren, who stood by and watched as the Sex Pistols unravelled at an alarming speed.

After the pistols split, the book moves into even more depressing, seedy territory as it describes Sid and Nancy drowning in a sea of drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, vomit and blood. All of which is disturbing, sickening and actually very sad. This culminated in the murder or some might say suicide of Nancy, and the eventual heroin overdose of Sid, resulting in his death.

It is incredibly sad to read about such a swift destruction of a human being, and even sadder to read about the death of a once attractive and comical mother's boy who loved his mother a great deal. Many point the finger of blame at Nancy, fewer point the finger at the far more intelligent Lydon and others blame Malcolm Mclaren, but ultimately, the only one to blame for the death of Sid Vicious was Sid Vicious. This book is a disturbing look at what drugs can do to a person, and their state of mind.

Because of it's grim look at the reality of drugs, and the book's more light-hearted moments, as well as the once harmless nature of Sid, I recommend this book very much. It is not a particularly long book, but it does examine the tragically short life of Sid Vicious with reasonable clarity.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The downward spiral, 11 July 2010
This is one of the best reads on Sid Vicious that I've come across. It's one that focuses mainly on Sid -- rather than Sid and Nancy. There were plenty of photos I'd never seen, either. It's a keeper for this fan!
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Sid: Sid Vicious - Rock'n'roll Star
Sid: Sid Vicious - Rock'n'roll Star by Malcolm Butt (Paperback - 31 Aug 2003)
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