Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs

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Overview

"I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die."—John Lydon

Punk has been romanticized and embalmed in various media. It has been portrayed as an English class revolt and a reckless diversion that became a marketing dream. But there is no disputing its starting point. Every story of punk starts with its idols, the Sex Pistols, and its sneering hero was Johnny Rotten.

In Rotten, Lydon looks back at himself, the Sex ...

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Overview

"I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die."—John Lydon

Punk has been romanticized and embalmed in various media. It has been portrayed as an English class revolt and a reckless diversion that became a marketing dream. But there is no disputing its starting point. Every story of punk starts with its idols, the Sex Pistols, and its sneering hero was Johnny Rotten.

In Rotten, Lydon looks back at himself, the Sex Pistols, and the "no future" disaffection of the time. Much more than just a music book, Rotten is an oral history of punk: angry, witty, honest, poignant, and crackling with energy.

Punk has been romanticized and embalmed in scholarly articles, magazines, books, museum exhibits, and movies. A class revolt that became a fashion statement, punk's idols were the Sex Pistols, and its sneering hero was Johnny Rotten. Seventeen years later, John Lydon looks back at himself, the Sex Pistols, and the "no future" disaffection of the time.

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Editorial Reviews

Benjamin Segedin
Lydon, the son of an Irish crane operator, was the consummate outsider: He suffered spinal meningitis at an early age, loved his mother dearly, dyed his hair green, and preferred Oscar Wilde to Rimbaud or Baudelaire. Contemptuous of the herding instincts of the English, he developed his own style and fashions, which he says designer Vivienne Westwood stole. But Westwood owned a boutique with Malcolm McLaren, who invited Lydon to audition as lead singer in a band he managed, the Sex Pistols. Lydon had never sung before but got the job and became Johnny Rotten. What followed is punk rock legend. Cultivating controversy and bad press, the Pistols became notorious and developed a following--the lemming types Lydon so detested. The band hit with "God Save the Queen" and "Anarchy in the U.K.," made a harrowing U.S. tour, and broke up in disarray. Lydon sued McLaren and formed another band, but he couldn't use the name Johnny Rotten (McLaren owned rights to it) until the suit was settled years later. Still angry, Lydon contests McLaren's claim to have masterminded the punk scene and challenges other takes on the era in a repetitive, sloppy account that's still indispensable.
From the Publisher
"Alive at the core . . . Lydon's quite the humorist. . . . [Full of] cut marks of wit and ego."—The New Yorker

"A wrathful Irish poet . . . Lydon proves to have a keen wit and rare insight."—The Washington Post Book World

"A pavement philosopher whose Dickensian roots blossom with Joycean color."—Rolling Stone

"Invaluable . . . sheds welcome light on that short period of great music and spasmodic cultural change."—San Francisco Chronicle

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312099039
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/7/1993
  • Pages: 329

Meet the Author

John Lydon still performs and tours with the Sex Pistols. He also records and performs both as a solo artist and with PiL (Public Image Limited). He lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2004

    Rotten for Life

    I think that 'Rotten:No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs' is an excellent book. I havent yet read all of it but what I have read has been great. I first got involved in the whole Sex Pistols era when I had to do a report in high school about someone who we feel is living the 'american dream'. I picked both Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious. Odd choices, I know, but who as a young child didnt want to be a rock god? Sid was my first choice b/c quoting Steve Jones from an interview he gave on Thursday, August 8,1996 he said 'Well, he's the dead one. The dead one's always the one they mythologize.' I have to agree with this. There seems to be more dead celebrtities that get recognized nowadays than those that are still living. I guess if you havent died from some tragic suicide or a drug overdose you're just not cool enough to be loved. Anyway as I was saying, I was working on this report in high school when I stumbled across a website where John Lydon was talking about a book he wrote. I then went out and bought it right away. I loved it. And that's my story on how I became a Sex Pistols fan.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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