Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

John Lydon: Stories of Johnny - A Compendium of Thoughts on the Icon of an Era (2006)

Editor: Rob Johnstone | Page Count: 318

…he has proved time and again that a big anti-establishment Fuck You can and should be something that any individual is free to choose.”

The correct ratio of arrogance and enthusiasm can be a positive thing.  John Lydon has spent his entire life making himself a visible target for the socially repressed and political ideologists to attack, and in so doing he exposes the attacker’s own prejudices and fears.  Love him or hate him, the world needs Lydon.  Truth needs Lydon.  He admits the things he says can seem contradictory and that his opinion will change from day to day but it always reflects how he feels at that time, and the core values that underline his philosophy never change.

I’ve labelled this a ‘biography’ but it only slightly fits that category.  It’s similar to the kind of critical studies you find on every academic reading list at school, the kind of thing that collects together essays offering different perspectives on a chosen topic.  By assimilating the separate elements it helps build up a picture of a man; whether or not it’s an accurate picture is open to debate.  Nevertheless, it’s a fun undertaking and the constantly shifting topics keep it interesting.  

One chapter focuses on the rise of punk, one on the reaction of the media, and another on the nuances of Lydon’s unique vocal delivery, etc.  You don’t need to start at the beginning and work your way through to the end, you can jump in anywhere.  It’s focussed primarily on the Sex Pistols era but there are enough Public image Ltd anecdotes to please fans of both sides.

Black & white photos are scattered haphazardly across the pages.  They’re obvious filler, sometimes bearing no relation to the text whatsoever.

The entry by Kris Needs and the essay by Judy Nylon are essential reading.

3 “originality always offends” out of 5

Contributors: GREIL MARCUS; LEGS McNEILL (Wanker); CLINTON HEYLIN; KRIS NEEDS; PAT GILBERT; JUDY NYLON; NIGEL WILLIAMSON; ALAN CLAYSON; BARB JUNGR; ALAN McGEE.

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