Sharon Barrow Wilfong's Reviews > Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

Anger is an Energy by John Lydon
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John Lydon is a complex mix of irreverence, vulgarity, crassness and loyal, caring, sensitivity. He has the attitude and vocabulary of the poor street kid who grew up in the slums of London. That is because that is exactly how he grew up. And his family was Irish to boot, so he was a misfit in his own home town.

Added to that, when he was eight years old, he came down with meningitis and was hospitalized for a year.

Lydon grew up rebellious and angry.

Today he is still rebellious, and still angry. He certainly is energetic. But is it still anger? Or is it more accurately described as passion?

The first part of the book was less interesting to me because it was mostly rehashing his years with the Sex Pistols. I'd read most of this in his first book, No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs.

There is a lot of ranting against just about everybody he knew. That got a little boring, I must admit. OK. You hate everybody. I get it. You're opposed to anything, structured, decent or normal.
The spirit of Punk.

Yet there were cracks of light shining through the frothing at the mouth rage. There were people he loved.

He loves his family. He loves helpless people. He loves orphans. He fights for the underdog.

There were glimmers of wisdom, showing that while Lydon may be Johnny Rotten, dirty street rat, he's also a highly intelligent, well-read, creative man. Maybe this is what is underneath the hard gloss.

He and his wife adopted her daughter's twin boys. They were wild and out of control. As teenagers they could hardly speak intelligibly. They couldn't read or write. Not many people would have taken that on, and Lydon wasn't even related to these children. Yet he took them in. I wish he had spoken more at length about them. I would have liked to know how they turned out.

I also respected how he did not sugarcoat his stepdaughter, Ari Up (lead singer of the girl punk band, The Slits), her life style and how she failed her children. Reading this section, one can't help but think of a kindly old, but deft minister admonishing out of compassion the plurality and hypocrisy of famous people that show one side to the public, but are horribly selfish people that ruin their own family. I thought it was both brave and honest of him.

He speaks with nothing but love and respect for his wife, Nora. They married when he was twenty and she was thirty-six. He's closer in age to his step-daughter, Ari Up, than his wife. But they've been married for the last 51 years. Bravo!

This isn't in the book, but I have learned from other sources that his wife now suffers from Alzheimer's, and he is her primary caregiver. I don't care what kind of foul-mouthed punk he is, that alone commands my respect. Again, bravo!!

Lydon has never acted as though he cared what others said. He openly criticized Bob Geldof and other rock stars who participated in Live Aid. Did they even know where the money went? Who did they actually help? He summed it up as a lot of virtue posturing inside a safe, fashionable cause.

He also performed in Israel against popular opinion as well. Kudos to him.

Finally the piece de resistance: he supports Trump.

If it weren't for his actions, one could accuse him of a lot of hot air. But he puts his money where his mouth is. He really doesn't care what other people think. He may have a filthy, potty mouth, admirable to an adolescent, but he doesn't pretend to be anything other than he is.

If you're a Sex Pistols and Punk Rock fan. You will probably enjoy adding this book to your library.
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Reading Progress

October 20, 2019 – Started Reading
November 18, 2019 – Finished Reading
November 20, 2019 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael O'Brien Fascinating bio!

Sharon Barrow Wilfong Michael wrote: "Fascinating bio!"

I agree!

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