Q Magazine: Q Awards
November 2001

© Q Magazine 2001

Q Awards 2001: "Inspiration Award"


John Lydon:
The dirty rotten scoundrel!

"One loyal firm", Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine Source unknown How are you and what are you on?
I'm fine, thank you, for this time of the year, and I'm sucking on a sweet lemonade at the moment.

Why the arrival on a rag-and-bone cart?
My roots. He [pointing at his dad] is Steptoe, and I'm the son. All these arseholes who turn up in their limos - don't they know that's fucking jaded? They look like some heavy metal band. They might as well have Spandex on and long blonde wigs.

Have you won anything before?
I've never won anything, mate - I was brought up the hard way |Lydon's wife, Nora, reminds him of an award given to Public image Limited] Shut up! [Confessionally] When I first started Public Image, I won Most Promising Act. I was furious, cos the word "act" is not in my repertoire. I don't act. It implies phoniness. And thats the trouble with the music industry. All these empty, hollow horseheads - it's not tolerable anymore.

Is that worse now than it was 20 years ago?
Come back Milli Vanilli, all is forgiven. lt's just a load of coathangers, innit? l don't mind it when it stays in a pop genre for young kids, but it doesn't. lt's taking over The way that rap is so bland and mass produced. There's no voice of the ghetto.

There used to be...
Yeah. It's like there used to be in punk until Subway Sect joined in.

Do you recognise any of the latter-day American punks as worthy flag-bearers?
Of course not. That's my time - where's yours? Why are you imitating my youth? I had to earn my wings.These punk hairdos - I had to fight many a street battle to survive. This did not come easy. This is hardcore shit. [Pointing in direction of Rick McMurray from Ash] There are people here with those hairdos and spectacles. It's ludicrous.

Do you see anyone out there who's true to your kind of principles?
I saw a vibrator in a shop window in Soho recently that I thought might inspire me a few extra yards.

Do you recognise Liam Gallagher as your spiritual offspring?
Nah. I don't acknowledge any of my children. That's what makes them hard. Do I rate his singing style? Well, it sounds awfully familiar, so I reckon I like it.

What's happened to your American TV show?
They pulled it off the air it got excellent ratings, but they took it off after I did the Democratic Convention. It was just too fucking full on. I know politics, but I bring it down to the level of, "Hello, we're all real people here. Stop talking posh words." The best English is simple English. Plain speaking. If you don't know what you're talking about, you're going to gobbledygook yourself up. And you end up sounding like Malcolm McLaren. A dithery politician. With rubbish metaphors.
There were a couple of speeches here today that really worried me. Bono [pronounced Bone-o] was more twaddly than usual, but with less content. Someone must have told him to lay off the charities, and that left him empty-headed. Cos let's face it - Bono without a charity is Bozo. And the guy with a condom on his head [Brian Eno] that said the only victims of the war so far are Afghan refugees. Well, hello - the World Trade Centre glares alarmingly at me. And I don't appreciate death of any kind.

What's your opinion of the War On Terrorism?
I'm anti-terrorist and I'm anti-stupidity Bombing tents with million-dollar weapons doesn't show a great deal of suss. And to pick a battle before the Afghan winter is [rolls eyes] really naive. The only troops who are prepared to deal with that are the SAS, who train in Snowdonia. There isn't a Yank alive who can deal with that kind of battle.

Where were you on 11 September?

[Smirking] I was with my cousin, Bin Lydon.

What do you make of George W Bush?
I dunno - I'd like to stick him a double. Handsome chap, isn't he? I love the Brillo pad hairdo. Fucking hell, I'd love to scrub my frying pan with that. He's not the smartest bloke in the world, but I believe he has a good heart. The trouble is, a good heart and an empty head don't make for good leadership. All this stuff about "the evil-doers, the bad guys". It's all terribly John Wayne, isn't it? They've got to stop living in the movies.

Are you a happy American resident?
Very. It's a fantastic country. They're mad, but they have a great openness to new things, which you don't get in England any more. Here, everything new is hated and resented. You're happy with that scratchy toilet paper? I'm sorry, I like a bit of aloe vera on my bum now. If that's spoilt, well yeah I've gone upmarket. Come visit!

Is Blair's Britain preferable to the place you left in the'80s?

It's about the same for me. When people like Liam Gallagher get caught with drugs on them, they're let off with a warning - but my misdemeanours 30 years back still haven't been taken off the record. And that buggers up my visas and anything else you care to mention. My only crime in life is - what?-amphetamine sulphate. For fucks sake! That's a mediocre version of Viagra, isn't it? And the way they cut it up in London at the moment, it might as well be Valium.

Are you speaking from recent experience?

[Craftily] No, I read a book about it.

John and Dad, Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine Source unknownWhen did you last walk around Finsbury Park?

You don't walk around Finsbury Park - you run. That is one tough hellhole. Except now, it's turning into Arabia. Nothing wrong with that. We could do with a few of the Hezbollah at Highbury.

Why did you burn Sid Vicious's suicide note on American TV?

Because that's what Sid would have liked. That's not disrespect- Sid's my fucking friend. A suicide note - he'd have realised that was corny and the idea that it'd be worth money to someone? This is embarrassing shit. Some collector who knows nothing about either of us having that in his drawing room? It's terrible. We didn't do this shit so wealthy people could collect our underwear

Do you feel the same way about the trade in Jamie Reid artwork?

I don't know what Jamie's turning himself into, but it was good talking to him about a month ago. It's important we settle a few issues among all of ourselves. When it's all boiled down, Jamie was responsible for the artwork. I'm the man with the voice and the Iyrics, Steve's the guitar hero, PauI did the drums. And I think Glen was around. No, Glen was great at the start. That's why, when we did the reunion, Glen had to be in it. But he's still got some kind of hatred for me cos I mentioned the sandwich Steve wanked in. It's probably all a glorious lie, but it's delivered deliciously in the telling. We all pissed in each others pillows. That s what you do when you're in a band. You're so close, the resentments are incredible. But so are the lovey-dovey moments. [wistfully] It's a higher union than marriage. Your life is in your compatriots' pockets.

Did you have lovey-dovey moments with Glen?

Of course not. I take it all back. He reminds me too much of Paul McCartney Actually, if anyone was going to give me this award tonight, I wanted it to be McCartney I've never liked his aspect of The Beatles, but I've met him a few times and I really like the bloke. lt's not his fault that my mum and dad endlessly played Beatles records to me, to the point that it poisoned my opinion. But McCartney's a genuine bloke. He doesn't present himself too well on TV- he comes over too dopey. But he's much better when the cameras are off. We trade tapes. I like Elton John, too. What a bang-on bloke.

Apparently you have plans for the 25th anniversary of 1977?

I don't know what you're talking about. If you mean Virgin are going to endlessly re-release old product... what's new about that? They do it every fucking year, but there's a nice coincidence this time around. It ain't no big deal unless I make it so.

You're obviously quite a fan of Kate Bush.

Kate Bush is a true original. It's not nice that she's been imitated -Torrid Aimless, sorry Tori Amos. But Kate Bush is a genuine talent. She went through the same shit I did when she started: "Oh, that's not singing". Who the fuck wrote the rules about music? Why follow this slavish idiocy? Actually, that was the difference between me and Glen Matlock. He thought music ended when Chuck Berry declared that rock n roll was four to the bar. For me, it's 22 of my mates at the bar.

Your speech suggested you've got rather a dim view of modern rock music.

It's lost its roots. It's not folk music, which is what it was supposed to be. It's now fake music. Do you care? Not at the moment. The drugs are kicking in. [Eyes wife lustily] The Viagra...

Maybe he's got Tourette's syndrome


Horse and Cart at Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine Source unknownJohn Lydon Rant #1
"Oh wonderful! Bloody wonderful! You were boring then and you're fucking boring now!"
During the opening of Elvis Costello's performance

John Lydon Rant #2
"Nice of you to have made the fucking effort and dressed up for the occasion "
To Starsailor

John Lydon Rant #3
"Oh my God. it's twins! Teletubbies"
On seeing Johnny Vegas join Phil Jupitus

John Lydon Rant #4
"Fuck off you wanker! You've sprayed beer over my fucking shoes you clumsy cunt! What the fuck do you think you're doing? Fuck off"
To unfortunate Q photographer




Speech: Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine Source unknownShut up! I've got a few words for you.
Hello! This is the working class of England - I am one of them.

And all you posh bastards out there, too busy doing your fucking imitations, know where it comes from. [Points to screen behind him] The real deal. Me.
I want to say thank you to my family and friends. Stand up and let them know what a real Arsenal looks like!...

Johnny bettah win one?... Eh, Johnny win one!
Who wants it? Cos, come on, it don't mean much to me...

[Off microphone to heckler] Eh? You're a wanker. [Pointing at Keith Allen]
You didn't do the 100 Club press conference. You turd! Boo!
One person I would like to say hello to is Kate Bush - I love you, your music is fucking brilliant.

You know what, Kate we are worthy! That's enough from me.
Now let's get pissed.

Peace off...



Who'd have thought it? Kate Bush out of hiding and John Lydon proving vaguely approachable! Voila! The magic moment of the Q Awards 2001…

John & Kate Bush, Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine © Andy EarlNot exactly a match made in heaven, but the two truly jaw-dropping attendees at the 12th Q Awards were quick to offer each other mutual love.

"You know what Kate? We are worthy," Lydon announced to the throng. '"Your music is fucking brilliant." In response, she insisted the punk buffer come up stairs and have his photo taken with her. Initially he moaned, "I don't do stairs", like a phlegm-spattered Mariah Carey but chivalry won the day in the end.

At 12.32 a rag-and-bone cart had arrived outside the Park Lane Hotel and a Steptoe-like Lydon disembarked, a roadkill affair doubling as a haircut and a North London urchin attitude undiminished by years of residence in Los Angeles. With him was father John, wife Nora, Lydon Mini-Me and minder John Rambo, and a cloudburst of scary shouty people chanting, "Johnny better win one!" Ooh, suppose he better had...

Bush's entrance was more understated, but was met by - if anything - still greater awe. Famously hermit-like since interviews for her The Red Shoes album in 1993, subsequent speculation has revolved around everything from her mental state to her smoking habits to her romantic life. Her arrival blew all that chaff away and, as she stepped up for her award - presented by Midge Ure, who mistily recalled "when she almost got her tits out for Prince Charles" - a spontaneous standing ovation of Liams, Gorillaz, Lydons and Travises rocked the Q Awards ballroom.

And Bush's reaction? In that tiny, familiar voice she exclaimed: "I've just come!"

Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
"One loyal firm", Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine © unknown
John and Dad, Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine © unknown
Horse and Cart at Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine © unknown
Speech: Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine © unknown
John & Kate Bush, Q Awards, October 29th, 2001. Q Magazine © Andy Earl
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