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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely readable memoir of musical revolutionary...., 27 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs (Paperback)
Last time I checked, this was out of print, so discussing Lydon and his amusing appearance on TV's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! I found it has been reissued. Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs is Lydon's first memoir, generally centred around his perception of life in the Sex Pistols (though he does offer other people's views); he is due to publish a second book, on his superior act after, Public Image Limited, which after reading this several times, is something I'm looking forward to...
Lydon has always been great with words, something you can't doubt from the lyrics to debut Anarchy in the UK alone; his lines at the notious winterland concert ("ever felt you've been cheated?") are typical of him. Whichever way you cut it, Lydon is one of the great English characters- he's up there with William Blake, Anthony Burgess, Graham Greene, Morrissey, Tony Hancock, Sid James, Pete Townshend, Virginia Woolf- a typically individual English voice...
No Irish No Blacks No Dogs probably tells it like it is, though of course we all have our own perspectives on experiences- Lydon discusses The Sex Pistols, the split after and of course Malcolm McLaren. Key events are seen from Lydon's POV, though perhaps the brilliant documentary The Filth&The Fury has surplanted that- I loved the scene from The Filth where the Sex Pistols played a Xmas party for striking miner's kids and a kid chucked a pie or cake in Lydon's face. This is why it seems perfectly natural he's on I'm a Celebrity!. Lydon makes lots of amusing bitchy comments about other people, from Shane MaGowan to Joe Strummer, and shows that he has remained an individual. He discusses that radio show he did, where lots of those who'd bought into a uniform notion of what punk was were aghast at his picking tracks from Kevin Ayers, Can, Miles Davis & Peter Hammill- the same idiots who took task with albums like Metal Box and Secondhand Daylight for supposedly prog-tendencies. The classic Pistols TV moment is recalled & it's interesting to have Lydon's view from inside the maelstrom that was the Pistols...
In many ways, the stuff about Nora and the post-Pistols era prior to Public Image are the best & Lydon advances on the personal themes of PIL's Death Disco (about his mother's illness which lead to death), as well as his feelings on Sid Vicious. The episode where Lydon goes on Virgin's money to Jamaica to check out the dub sound that would become apparent in PIL's early work is of note & it's nice to see that Lydon punctures myths throughout the book. Which was the point of the Pistols really; as a book it feels utterly related to the band who did that storming version of The Stooges' No Fun...
It's a compulsive read, can't wait for the follow-up, and stands easily alongside such rock autobiographies as Diary of a Rock & Roll Star by Ian Hunter and Head On/Repossessed by Julian Cope. A brilliant memoir from a great British/English voice & a sound purchase; one you'll read and re-read. He did you no wrong...
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Location: Worcester, UK

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