Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Dark Side Of Hero Worship

David Cronin is the Brussels correspondent of Inter Press Service news agency, and he’s not happy. One of his childhood heroes has betrayed him:
Johnny Rotten has cheated on me.
Not literally.
OK, I don't expect that statement to elicit much sympathy.
Aaaaand…you’d be right!
But I can't have been the only one to feel queasy reading the interviews John Lydon gave ahead of this week's British tour by his band, Public Image Ltd (PiL). The erstwhile Rotten believes that now his ads have boosted sales of Country Life butter, he should be courted incessantly by marketing executives. "It amazes me that people don't get the opportunity of me," he told the Guardian. "I sell."
‘Former punk grows up to be quite canny with money’

Hold the front page! News at 10:00!
As I was only five at the time Anarchy in the UK was released in 1976, I wasn't conscious of hearing it until nine or 10 years later. Fashion might have moved on in that time – not that I had any knowledge of fashion – yet it is no exaggeration to say that the Sex Pistols' debut single was liberating and educational, not least because it prompted me to look up "anarchy" in the dictionary. Here was an exotic creature from London telling a young Irish boy that it was cool to defy authority.
Well, yes. When you are young and foolish, you advocate and follow many strange concepts.

But when you grow up, you realise that you need to earn a living, squatting in abandoned buildings plays havoc with your piles, and Abercrombie & Fitch suits you better than a ripped t-shirt covered in beer and puke.

This is hardly news.

So, what is it about Lydon that has really got Davey’s y-fronts in a bunch?
A few months ago Lydon claimed he's "well-known for being a pacifist" and named Mahatma Gandhi as his all-time hero. Surely, then, he would be open to supporting one of the most impressive examples of Gandhi's principles being put into action in today's world: the weekly demonstrations in the West Bank village of Bi'lin, where unarmed activists are regularly fired at by Israeli forces. Surely, too, he would be sympathetic to the call made by numerous Palestinian trade unions and other campaign groups for a cultural and economic boycott of Israel.
Aha! Now, the penny drops…
Not a chance, I'm afraid. Lydon has vowed to go ahead with a PiL concert in Tel Aviv, scheduled for late August. "If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him," Lydon told the Independent. "But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated."

Naturally, little Davey is shocked, shocked, to hear that his idol may not share the same political views. Clearly, this can’t be explained by anything other than the corrupting influence of capitalism.

No, really:
How can Lydon so callously disregard the suffering of a people under colonial occupation? The answer is easy. PiL will be performing in Tel Aviv as headliners at a festival sponsored by Heineken. Along with giving him all the free beer he can swallow, Lydon can be sure the brewers will help to swell his bank account.
Yes, it’s clearly all about money, Davey.


Smoking Hot said...

Met John a couple of times. People really should take more note of what his band is called ..... 'Public Image Ltd' :)

English Viking said...

Always thought he was a nob... until now.

Israel is fighting the front line of a war which is soon to be played on a High Street near you.

RAB said...

I had a cheer and a chuckle when I read that piece too. I love it when some fuckwit leftie has his hero balloon burst for him.

This idiot obviously knows nothing of John, the Pistols or Punk. He seems to think that because Punk was Anti establishment it was leftist, when the "No future for you and me" that John sang about was the one being imposed on his and my generation by a LABOUR government.

I've met John a few times too, and as we old music journalists know only too well, John tends to lie rather a lot just for the hell of it and to see how gullible people can be. So I am pretty certain that the Gandhi quote is him taking the piss big time.

So three cheers for John and PIL playing Israel (he is a bit of a Libertarian on the quiet).

I saw them last week, and they were brilliant, but I am biased as my old aquaintance Bruce Smith is the drummer.

And yes, it IS about the money. Rock n Roll is not a fuckin charity!

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Oh! Oh! A Paleosimian-lover finds that not everyone licks the arse of Mohammed! Cwy me a wiver!

blueknight said...

The ultimate sell out was Slade's lead singer advertising 'Nobby's Nuts'

JuliaM said...

"People really should take more note of what his band is called ..... 'Public Image Ltd' :)"

Good point!

"Always thought he was a nob... until now."

Those butter ads got a bit wearying, I must admit! But this article was a breath of fresh air! :)

"I've met John a few times too, and as we old music journalists know only too well, John tends to lie rather a lot just for the hell of it and to see how gullible people can be."

I bet he's not short of evidence!

"The ultimate sell out was Slade's lead singer advertising 'Nobby's Nuts'"

Oh, god, yes! I think they still make those, but I haven't seen any ads for a while.

Greencoat said...

John Lydon- from zero to hero.

David Gillies said...

Rock the Casbah! Rock the Casbah!

The roppers* really hate that song.

* ROP adherents

JuliaM said...

I'm sure I saw something a few months ago about a move to get the radio stations to declare 'Rock the Casbah' a 'non-record'. Can't think where it was now.

Squander Two said...

How could anyone claim to be a Sex Pistols fan and yet be shocked by them doing something for money.

"I only invented punk rock in order to sell more trousers. It worked."
-- Malcolm McLaren