|John takes the stage to the strains of
Johnny Reggae. After his warm
welcome he warns us to expect some “foul language” before advising,
“there is no such thing as foul language, there’s foul people who tell
lies and spread fake news, but words are what separates us from the
beasts in the fields. Have you ever heard a cow go ‘moo you fucking
cunt?’” An hilarious opening! His words are important, both to him and
to us. The human
condition underpins his personality and world view, one which centres
on community. His life story illustrates this in spades, his childhood
experiences creating the man sitting in front of us today.
My review of
John’s Crewe show has already touched upon some of the topics covered;
Catholic school, piss pots, the BBC (British Buggery Cunts), however as
all who’ve attended multiple shows can testify, a
life as colourful as John’s ensures there are always new avenues to
explore and tales to be told. And there's guaranteed plenty of humour,
“our doors were
always unlocked (pause) it could be said we had fuck all to steal!”.
The light touches are counterbalanced by hardship, both his own and
that of the
war generation that surrounded him. He recalled the saddest stories
came from the women talking
about the London blitz - a scene clearly depicted on John’s book cover
illustration. In addition, the stories of war told
by Italian and German post-war immigrants proved
this multiculturalism became a strong part of his personalty. He’s keen
to point out that it’s vital for the future for us to understand our
past. As a result, under the microscope went Karl Marx.
The second part
of the show, in which John answers audience questions, began with
Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep filling the theatre, followed by an upbeat 50
minutes. The Danny Boyle “on the bum” series got mentioned
of course, “it’s like making James Bond without James Bond.” The other
regular Q&A topic is Sid. John is still affectionate but can’t
resist a bit of wicked humour, “we both got
thrown out of school too early, me for asking questions and Sid for not
having answers!” There were recollections of the Sex Pistols
Huddersfield Christmas Day 1977 kids matinee, “when you see seven year
old kids run to the front of the stage and throw Christmas cake at you
(during Bodies) you know you’ve hit home proper!” The children
understand it better than the adults and he’s right!
An interesting nugget came to light; John bought many records just
‘cos he liked the cover. (I thought only I did that.) This included
Cooper's Pretties For You, which had, “the worst painting I’d ever seen
in my life. It was so poxy I had to have it!”
Throughout the evening, John’s wife Nora remains never far from the
The following morning, sat close by at breakfast in the
hotel were two couples who’d also attended. I eavesdropped as they
swapped their thoughts. “Brilliant”, “humble”, “his roots are very
important to him”, “his love for Nora is immense”, “you get to know
him”, “what about those old people who told him stories”, and
‘”community”. One chap was particularly thrilled as his question had
been answered in the second half of the show. “What was the first
record you bought?” It was Kenny Rogers, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To
Town. With John’s fascination with words and storytelling, it should
come as no real surprise. With John, expect the unexpected.
He could be
wrong he could be right, yet at the end of the day, it all makes sense.
It all comes back to community.
by Phil Singleton
Save The Sex Pistols ©2021 Phil Singleton /
All rights reserved. Not
reproduced without permission.