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John The Revelator
As PiL return with their best album since Metal Box, a typically forthright John Lydon treats Stuart Clark to his thoughts on David Beckham, the Pistols, The Clash, Ari Up, butter, PTA meetings & a whole lot more besides!
Stuart Clark, 06 Jul 2012
I have to say I’m rather nervous about getting on the transatlantic blower to John Lydon. Not only is the ex-Pistol a notoriously prickly interviewee, but also our chinwag is taking place during the second-half of England V France, a Euro 2012 encounter fraught with Benzema-ian danger.
“I’ve already watched the game,” the 56-year-old deadpans. “They play behind closed doors for us celebrities and then re-enact it for the great unwashed… Nah, I’m watching it here on Fox or ESPN or some other channel that insists on calling association football ‘soccer’. Football’s had the passion and romance sucked out of it badly enough in Europe, but the Americans take it to a whole new level.”
So John hasn’t been helping to pay the respective $5.5 million and $2.97m salaries that David Beckham and Robbie Keane are getting for plying their trade at the Home Depot Center?
“Home what? I wouldn’t go to see the Galaxy because it’s too showbiz. America’s only just learning the sport and their thinking is both confused and confusing. They talk about ‘wage caps’ and then pay David Beckham all that money. Following golf would be easier and I hate golf!
“What do I think of Beckham? Nice underpants and Johnny Rotten’s old hair-do! What made Arsenal such a great team when I was growing up is that the North Bank was so mixed race. Everybody knew everyone. I miss them old days. They’re taking football away from us. I still follow Arsenal – I mean, it’s a life sentence! – but the team I love most, oddly enough, is FC United of Manchester. Their fans didn’t like what was being done in their name, so they told the American owners to ‘fuck off!’ Good on ‘em!”
The reason John and I are swapping early evening pleasantries is the release of This Is PiL, their first album since 1992’s grammatically challenged That What Is Not.
“The 20-year gap was down to our former record company, not us,” he says, referring to his long-running dispute with Virgin. “Do you understand accounting?”