Nigeyb's Reviews > Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

Anger is an Energy by John Lydon
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I like music biographies. I like John Lydon. I really enjoyed John's first autobiography "Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs". I like PiL. I like the Sex Pistols. I like punk rock. I like autobiographies. What could possibly go wrong?

The introductory publisher's note should probably have set the alarm bells ringing. Ostensibly apologising for typos and words which may not exist because this is John "in his own words" but, having read the thing, I suspect it was as much an apology about the lack of any kind of editing.

John is frequently not as interesting or entertaining as he thinks he is. He takes every opportunity to give an opinion on other people and frequently to settle a few scores. Let it go John. Better to say nothing than always want the last word. Reading this book often felt like being trapped next to the pub bore who is slightly pissed, wants to hold court, and goes on endlessly whether you're interested or not.

Now then, this being John who is, after all, one of the most important cultural icons of my life, he does manage to be sporadically interesting and entertaining. Indeed, as the book went on it got better. I was especially touched by the sections about how he brought up his grandchildren after Ari Up, their mother, couldn't cope and then tragically died young. The sections on his family and his life away from music were where I thought we got to see a different John, one focussed on the really important aspects of life. References to his wife Nora; his father, his mother and his brothers; and his good friend, and now manager, Rambo; were similarly generally very interesting and a welcome counterpoint to the other stuff.
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Reading Progress

January 23, 2015 – Started Reading
January 23, 2015 – Shelved
January 23, 2015 –
page 114
21.97% "Hmmm. I liked John's first autobiography but this one is quite rambling and could have done with a good edit. A shame as he has a great story to tell but this is frequently abut tedious."
January 24, 2015 –
page 281
54.14% "Rambling and sporadically entertaining. I like Johnny and his music but he's not as interesting as he thinks he is. The publisher's note at the beginning states "in his own words" and seems to want to prepare the reader for what is to come. It focuses on grammar and typos being intentionally left in. I'd guess the publisher also realises it should have had a bloody good edit."
January 24, 2015 –
page 351
67.63% "Jeez Johnny let it go. Every opportunity taken to give an opinion on other people and frequently to settle a few scores."
January 24, 2015 –
page 414
79.77% "Really interested by the section on bringing up Ari's kids"
January 24, 2015 –
page 467
89.98% "Second pistols reunion; i'm a celebrity; father dies... This has definitely picked up in the latter stages, however I still say it would be better if it had had a really good edit"
January 24, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia Poor editing is a ridiculously common problem with recently published books, isn't it?

Nigeyb ^ Yes indeed. Perhaps due to fewer people being employed by publishers?

Barbara In the book he complains about how his last memoir was edited, how they completely changed his stories. I wouldn't be surprised if he refused to let them edit it, or at least rewrite any of it.

message 4: by Keith (new) - added it

Keith Thanks for the additional warning. (I would just punch the Like button on your review, but it doesn't seem to exist in the Android app.)

message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Your views pretty much exactly reflect my own. I think if this book had been 250 pages instead of 500+, the flaws - and the lack of editing - would not have been as much of a problem, but it just became a slog, trying to pick out the jewels of interesting information from the dross.

message 6: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate Good review! I had no idea he was a father let alone a grandfather.

message 7: by Craig (new)

Craig Spraggon Technically not his grand kids though right ?..... His wife is Ari Ups mum but John ain't her dad

Nigeyb That's correct Craig - step Grand kids would be completely accurate

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