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

Anger is an Energy by John Lydon
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Rotten luck: some years ago (well, probably nearly 20 if I'm honest) I read John Lydon's previous volume of autobiography, with the provocative title No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish, a reference to discriminatory signs commonly displayed in the windows of pubs and lodging houses in the north London of the 60s when he was growing up. With such a background it's little wonder he became rotten as well as very angry indeed. Lydon is one of punk's more articulate children and No Blacks... captured the same spirit evident in his lyrics (particularly later PiL) and interviews. A naturally clever and funny man whose intelligence and enquiring spirit was poorly served by the kind of shitty state education dished out to those of his generation who failed the 11 plus. You have to claw yourself back to the starting blocks, see, and as Rotten once observed: do not ignore public libraries - they are there for a purpose. I once mentioned this quote to a dim and prim boss of mine who said "Well I don't think we need endorsement from someone like that, do we?" I thought, oh you silly old moo you need endorsement from anyone who will give it.

Fast forward 20 years then and not everything is rotten in the state of Lydon. Yes, there were the butter commercials when he looked like he'd been eating it by the block for weeks in preparation and of which he mounts a spirited defence (see index for Country life) and this of course is long past the Filthy Lucre reunion tour, something he'd previously argued vociferously against with the undeniable "How are you going to reform Sid?" What they did of course was bring back Glenn Matlock, undoubtedly a better guitar player but so unpunk that Steve Jones used reputedly to wank in his sandwiches. Ah, the young tykes!

Comparing it to the previous book, I'm not entirely sure of the purpose of Anger Is An Energy. It cover much the same ground (updated of course) and is in parts very funny, particularly when he's on the subject of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, but it's - how can I out this - a lot less edited than its predecessor. "Coarse, plain-speaking and mischievous," says that paragon of the establishment, the FT. And who am I to argue with that? He'd hate the comparison, but there's a lot in common with Westwood's similarly messy memoir, but I suppose it's very punk. National treasure status beckons....
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Reading Progress

January 25, 2015 – Started Reading
January 25, 2015 – Shelved
February 10, 2015 – Finished Reading
February 15, 2015 –
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