After nearly 50 years in the music business, it's encouraging to know that John Lydon – aka Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten – hasn't lost any of his shock ability.
In his latest book, a collection of reflections and anecdotes from his life, titled I Might Be Wrong, I Might Be Right, we learn that the man who sang was an antichrist and anarchist, and who was once called "the." greatest threat has been described to "Our youth since Hitler is indeed a huge fan of Roxy Music.
He also counts Roy Orbison and Chris Isaak among his favorite singers and is more interested in reruns of the 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy, in which Lucille Ball and her real-life husband Desi Arnaz appeared as a married couple who were constantly in the comedy Scratch.
"And that's me and my wife at a T," he says. "We get up very early and love to sit in bed with a cup of tea and watch TV."
John and his wife Nora Forster have been married for 41 years and if his latest book tells us anything, it's how openly he adores them.
John and his wife Nora Forster (pictured together) have been married for 41 years. If his latest book tells us anything, it's how openly he adores her
Nora is 78 years old and has been battling Alzheimer's disease for several years. John, 64, is her full-time carer. It is an endeavor that he carries out with his usual diligence.
As he says, "She doesn't remember faces or situations, but her personality is still there and that's the person I loved over 40 years ago." That won't change. Of course there are problems, but there are problems with everything. I'm a long-term haulier and so is my babbie.
"She doesn't forget who I am, but with the grandchildren, memories are in and out." She can remember things from 25 years ago very clearly, but she cannot remember things that happened ten minutes ago. Your memory is a permanent puzzle that is destroyed again and again once you complete it. "
The couple have homes in England and California where John now chats, and although they have had some challenging times lately, he remains his typically lively and vocal self.
Nowadays he has even evolved into a domestic god who cleans and cooks everything (“I love making soups and stews and mashed potatoes and curries”).
Occasionally he also has to bathe and get dressed his wife. "It's not completely incapable," he says. "But I was promised by the experts that it would be." Until then it will be like that. "
He only uses help when he has to tour with his band Public Image Limited (PiL), "but I have to make the money to pay for all of this because it's damn expensive." You will need all new appliances as you cannot have gas rings in the kitchen. You need those with those awful glass tops that are impossible to clean.
"She's burned the house down twice now! Once in England and once here, and I can't take any more of that! The first one in London happened after she canceled the bloody home insurance and thought," What a waste of money. I'll help John out here ”- and then the dryer exploded.
"But Nora has always been like this – a little funky with her attention. Something will get her attention and then she will completely forget what she is doing.
The Sex Pistols in concert. Left to right: Sid Vicious, Paul Cook, Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) and Steve Jones
"Sometimes accidents happen and she accidentally pours tea on my head because she forgets how to hold a cup properly and she gets distracted by the television or something."
"From time to time I have my inner explosions because sometimes it's like hitting your head against a wall." But then there will be something called a heated situation and halfway through I will notice that she is winking at me.
"Moments like these are so awesome and rewarding because something has clicked in her and she will annoy me like she always did when I'm a little naughty!"
The thought of taking his wife to a care facility triggers a typically direct reaction. “No, no, no!” He says. "That would be horrible. I can not do that. She's not a difficult aunt – this is my significant other.
"I have a lot of friends who went through similar things with their parents, but that's a different situation that requires a different response." And it's not that Nora and I have kids running around. We just got each other, and that makes it less of a problem. "
The first inkling that Nora might have memory loss problems came a few years ago when she repeatedly lost her keys. "But when I really look back," says John, "it started when her daughter Arianna died."
Arianna, known as Ari Up from the British punk band The Slits, was Nora's daughter from her first marriage to the German singer Frank Forster. She died ten years ago at the age of 48 after a long battle with breast cancer.
"It is an amazing tragedy for a mother to lose her daughter," says John. "This is a huge, joyful part of your life that has just been stolen from you and you can feel sorry for yourself or get lost in the little things of things." This is where the trouble started for her, I think. "
Neil Ruddock, John Lydon and Lord Brocket at the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary for "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2004"
Doctors, he says, insisted on medication, and I was really fed up with the advice they gave. Many of them suggested narcotics to subdue them, but why would I want to do that?
"If someone comes into the last few years and denies them the freedom and fun of running, jumping, being in the sun, chatting – why should I take it all away and let them be a comatose victim?" It would be easier for me, but not for her, and this is my first concern. "
John has always shown his wife a touching devotion, like anyone who has seen him at I'm A Celebrity. . . Get me out of here! in 2004 can testify. He left the show after producers refused to let him know whether his wife's flight had landed safely in Australia, where the show was filmed. He also claims – somewhat incredible for a doyen of the music industry – that he never cheated on his wife. "And why should I?" He asks, astonished. "I've fought so hard to find something true and fair in my life. Why should I screw this up?"
The couple never had children together, but before Arianna's death they helped raise their twin sons, Pablo and Pedro.
"They were already in their teens so they challenged and explained their own manhood," says John. "It was a chaotic time, but we're all still friendly. It's very difficult for them now (with Nora) because they don't know what to say. They can't handle it. Mentally they're still too young – 30 are too young for that. "After their death, John and Nora also took in Arianna's youngest son Wilton. At the age of 25, John says," he is out and about in his own universe of the sexless, as they call it today Confusing! But he's on his own path and that's fine with me. It shows character and personality. "
There's something quite adorable about a man that was once considered a danger to the nation's youth of being at the forefront of the punk movement, and that sounds slightly baffled by current events.
There is something quite adorable about a man that was once considered a danger to the nation's youth of being at the forefront of the punk movement, and that sounds slightly baffled by current events.
Commenting on the fall of statues this summer and the defacing of the monument to Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, he says, “To see Churchill as offensive and racist is damned ridiculous, and the hatred of British culture that creeps in really annoys me . There are certain aspects of British history that I don't like, but I certainly won't try to erase them because there is no future without a past. "
And don't even let him start at the BBC. Your attempts to break off the singing of land of hope and fame and rule, Britannia! At this year's Last Night Of The Proms it was "outrageous". There is not a single bad word in it.
John's childhood, growing up in a two-room apartment in north London with his parents Eileen and John and three younger brothers, was largely overshadowed by meningitis at the age of seven. After coming out of a seven-month coma, he found that he had lost his memory, couldn't recognize his own parents, and needed to relearn his identity.
"When I was recovering from meningitis, I felt this deep sadness," he says. I thought: why am I disturbing? I will never know anyone or anything again. "" This deep loneliness filled him with suicidal thoughts at the time.
When it came to his wife's memory loss, “I understood that when she's stuck, she needs a little help. Sometimes she runs around the room at high speed and suddenly forgets where she is or why. But then I'll gently remind her and we'll laugh a lot together. My joy was that I recovered, ”he says. "I don't know if that's possible here."
He doesn't think about how much more time he's spent with his wife. "One of my friend's mothers was sick and that lasted 12 years and I'd love to stay longer, thanks!" He says. "But without Nora I would die of sadness.
"You just can't think of such things. You have to be bright. My mother and father taught me not to feel sorry for myself. Just take life as it comes."
He plans to visit the UK for his first spoken word tour next year to promote his book. "And it will be heartbreaking and very, very difficult to leave Nora," he says, "but I can't take her with me." . We returned to England last year and it was hell at every airport. She couldn't cope with the noise and the endless images in her head really confused and terrified her. "
During her stay with John in the English countryside, Nora was so disoriented that she would occasionally run around screaming, "You are trying to murder me."
"To be in strange hotels every night would scare her," says John, "and I can't do that to her." I introduce her to nurses to see who she makes a good and worthy friend, and I also need one who is computer friendly so that Babbie and me can play FaceTime together while I'm away. She needs the security of an environment she knows. "
For the Lydons, California was home this year, where Harry and Meghan now also live. Due to their separation from royal duties, they recently controversially encouraged Americans to choose to appear in various video chats and, in Meghan's case, make a surprise appearance at the American Got Talent finale.
"I don't get it at all," says John. "If you don't want to be part of this (royal) institution, why don't you give up your titles completely and get a council house and a job?" Guest appearances on trashy TV shows and express your virtuous opinions – there's nothing virtuous about it at all. You have decided not to do something. Why don't they move on and leave it alone?
"It's a shame on Harry. He didn't have to go that route. He had promises to be a pretty tough guy, but I've seen a couple of interviews and he seems really depressed. Not at all happy with what he's going on has let in. "
Does he think Harry might not have married the right woman? "I don't think she's the right person for anyone." She seems like a narcissist to me and they are very destructive. "
In addition, he says, "the couple do not view the injuries and harm they inflict on their families like ordinary people without the throne." The royals, he adds with a wink, "are human after all". .
Can it be true Has Johnny Rotten, who once sang "God Save the Queen / The Fascist Regime", tempered your Maj? It appears that he has, if not without, certain reservations.
A few years ago there was a “funny situation” where the idea was discussed that John should be knighted by the Queen. He grins. "Do you think I'll kneel before her," he says, "when she has a sword in my hand?"
- Visit johnlydon.com for information on John Lydon's new book "I Might Be Wrong, I Might Be Right", as well as a list of dates and ticket links for his Q&A tour of the UK in the fall of 2021. The documentary Public Image Is Rotten will be will be available on major streaming services from October 27th this year.
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