Taking Liberties Not Taken Easily

As if the previously mentioned ‘extract’ from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ‘Museum Guide Book' wasn't bad enough (see News: March 31st), it has recently been brought to our attention what was in their official programme on induction night.

Now, we’re not gonna pour over every grotesque inaccuracy – because we’d be here for hours – but lets just say it includes fabrications like: "The Sex Pistols played the industry, and the industry played them right back." It also claims Malcolm was "yanking at the groups strings as if they were puppets". And even states that ‘God Save the Queen’ “reached number 1 in UK”.

We could go on, but we won’t. Suffice to say it’s nothing short of a disgrace and Vivien Goldman – who wrote the article – really should know better.

Yet again, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame didn’t bother to check the facts with the people involved, and didn’t give them the chance to speak for themselves. Well, JohnLydon.Com does…
Over to Mr Lydon:

Sirius Faction Radio, March 2006 © Sirius "We tried to work with these people – the Hall of Fame –  we did make a concerted effort to get things right, but they consistently couldn’t be bothered. But they can be bothered – and do go out of their way –  to employ people who have no real grasp of reality. We have re-educated the Halls of Shame, many a time, and they’ve ignored the lot, and they’re still employing naff journalists.

It’s exactly what I expected, which is why in all honesty I couldn’t recommend anyone going to that hall, or having anything to do with them, because they just seem to be dependant on naff journalism. Is it deliberate, I can’t say. Journalists propagate their own myths and they stick rigidly to them.

It’s just lazy, lazy journalism from people who should know better, and who do know better, AND have done no better! (laughs) I’m all for liberal politics but not for liberal with the truth! Is this liberty? Are you at liberty to just be lazy with facts? Taking liberties are not taken easily! (laughs)

It’s lazy and flippant with the truth, and the same lazy attitude that they’ve had about people’s lives right from the very beginning. Which is why I don’t support the Hall of Fame. And that seems to be the way they perpetrated us there. So you know, let them all hang their heads in shame, because they got it wrong, yet again."

We go on to talk about the recent story in the UK press about the Brit Music Awards, and how they want to give John and the Pistols a ‘lifetime achievement award’ in the hope it can bring a bit of “Anarchy” back to the dull award show. However, it turns out they haven’t even had the balls to contact John – and quite rightly – he’s not happy about it.

"I don’t wanna know. And yet again, I can tell you this, they haven’t approached us! Exactly the same scenario, they think they can just come along and use us. We’re not a prop. We were never anyone’s prop, right! I never did this for awards, and never will. I go along with what people vote. And that’s corporate, so not interested. If they find themselves in a dull arse predicament, it’s because they didn’t listen in the first place.

All they had to be was honest. They’re just trying to gleam some kind of creditability, but through the back door! And unlike them, Johnny Rotten ain’t no backdoor Johnny! (laughs)

The British Music awards, they’ve depended on arseholes for so long, and now the only person they can really blame for getting the music industry into a state of arseholes is themselves. It’s too late to come back here and go, “Oh, help us out.” They’re wasting their own time, and they’ve been doing that for a long time! (laughs) If they’re a lame duck it’s not our fault. Sorry, if you think your country is a lame duck, don’t come back to me, I told you this a long time ago. (laughs)

I actually wrote something that meant something, and had a serious effect on society as a whole, and way people viewed things. That’s a lifetime achievement unlike any other pop band; and it’s not down to trivia. It just isn’t. So I’m not interested. Just not interested."

Moving on to more important things, John tells us he’s going to be working with a museum in the near future. And might be about to bump into an old acquaintance...

"The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is gonna put up an exhibition and they want me to explain exactly what the lyrics of ‘God Save the Queen’ were about. Which is a good opportunity to actually get something right. They came to us, so I have a sense of responsibility towards that. But when you try to sneak it and squeak it through the newspapers, it isn’t gonna work.

John and his tartan Jacket, live USA 1978. Pic © unknown It’s a museum that I do actually have some respect for, actually I love it. Been there many a time, it’s one of the highlights of New York for me. They’ve gone and got the bloke who used to put on exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert. It’s a British thing involving 17th and 18th century rooms, English style, authentic. And they’re gonna plonk a punk thing right in the middle of it; as the two sides of British culture I suppose. With ‘God Save the Queen’ – the song – being exhibited as the penultimate punk statement, by which all others fall by the wayside, you know. And quite right. It’s not silly words, and it takes a museum to realise this. A different approach to say, the British music awards or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so well interested in that.

I think it’s due to start May the 4th, but first I’m gonna give a little speech and they’re gonna broadcast that as you go in. You turn on your little radios or whatever. Then later on that evening it’s a fundraiser for a charity. It sounds very good, sounds like a huge laugh.

The fun of that night will be that Vivienne Westwood will be in the building! Yapping on about what a genius she is. (laughs) The problem for her will be that there will be an exhibition involving a real genius! (laughs) A real person. And not just a few bits of cloth sewn together. (laughs)

For me, it’s about the life you live, the words you speak, and the values you hold. And not how many buttons can fall off a jacket you badly put together! (laughs) And how much you charge for your supposed genius. Loose seams and buttons!

I’m gonna loan them MY original design, which was made by Vivienne,  of the tartan jacket which I wore on the first American tour. The bondage pants fell apart years ago, they rotted actually. (laughs) Quite literally rotted, but the jacket – moth holes and all – is still in existence. I love that tartan. I’ve never been able to get the tartan to do it again."

As you no doubt saw from John’s piece on the site last week, ‘congradulations’ were in order. And he is now looking forward to Arsenal’s upcoming match with Villarreal in the Champions League. It looks like Arsenal have a good chance to reach the final?

"Well, they do what they do, and that’s it. They’ve taken on two of the best teams in Europe [Real Madrid & Juventus]. It’s a shame, because I tell you, every Arsenal fan would have wanted to play Milan or Barcelona before the final. Go for the fucking big guns, stop piddling around, because you’ll lose your concentration with the second division lot, they’ll slip by you.

Arsenal is like a team now, the way I’ve always loved them, is they just love playing the game, and they don’t particularly care about the scoring side! (laughs) It’s passing to each other and having fun. It’s great to watch, but fucking hell, it’s a nightmare when you want to win!"

Rumours abound about the possibility of a Sex Pistols performance in Japan, so what better way to find out the truth than from John Rotten himself…

"Well, we got an offer, but it was no good. It was for a whole bunch of gigs. But what I wanted to do –  and I’ve spoken to John Giddings on this – the promoter for Solo, who I like a lot – was to just do one big gig in Japan. My original idea was I wanted to do it on the day of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, like two fingers up, but that was a bit childish on my part.

I’d like to do one gig in Japan, live TV, and not bother with a whole tour because there’s no need for it. And I’ve got too many other things to do. All of us have other work obligations now. Steve and his radio and whatever, and that’s important, you know? We would do a gig for fun. For fun. And funds! (laughs) I like my fun funded! And you can quote me on that! (laughs)

Like I said, it would be a possibility if it’s one gig with a possible TV broadcast. Then it’s special. It would be like a thank you present. Any other way, no. Not particularly interested, certainly not going to go out touring. If I do, I’d go out solo. But yet again, what have I got to thank the British music industry for? They’re murdering us, you know? They’ve spent like nearly 30 years pretending we’re arseholes, and now they need our arses! (laughs) Well, you can tell them they’re not our hamsters (laughs). That one will hurt!"

John Lydon.
The Horses Mouth.
April 8th 2006.

John Lydon's AngloMania 'God Save the Queen' podcast is available to download free from the New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art website, as well as via iTunes.

Live Randy's Rodeo, USA 1978. Pic © unknownThe Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue. New York, New York 10028

AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion
May 3rd, 2006 – September 4th, 2006

Andrew Bolton, associate curator. The Costume Institute. Metropolitan Museum of Art

John Lydon's AngloMania 'God Save the Queen' podcast is available to download free from the New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art website, as well as via iTunes.

Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
John on Sirius Faction Radio, March 2006 © Sirius
John and his tartan jacket, live USA 1978. © unknown
Live Randy's Rodeo, USA 1978. © unknown
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