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Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored by…

Anger Is an Energy: My Life Uncensored (2014)

by John Lydon, Andrew Perry

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1054178,317 (3.76)1
"[Punk rock icon] John Lydon remains a captivating and dynamic figure to this day--both as a musician, and, thanks to his outspoken, controversial, and from-the-hip opinions, as a cultural commentator. In [this book, the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. band member once known as Johnny Rotten] looks back on a life full of incident, from his beginnings as a sickly child of immigrant Irish parents growing up in post-war London to his present status as a vibrant, alternative hero"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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A great book by Lydon who is of course the original Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols. The book title comes from a Lydon phrase from his PiL song called "Rise." The book is lengthy but worth the time. Lydon shows real intellectual growth and spiritual understanding as the book progresses. The book is organized around his life chronologically with various chapters interspersed (distinguished by a different typeface) that expound on various tangents such as on art or relationships.
Lydon says that he wrote the "Rise" lyric Anger Is An Energy in his home in Los Angeles. He lived in Pasadena (after New York, New York) where he didn't like it and then in Venice Beach which he preferred much better. He says that he is anti-establishment. He is anti-institutional religion (his family is Irish Catholic) but not antithetical to Jesus, Allah, or Hinduism. He didn't like the Catholic nuns or priests who taught him and says he avoided the priests as they were known to be pedophiles. He says that when his mother died the Jesuit priest didn't come after several attempts. At the funeral mass he felt nothing was personal. At the end of the book he wishes that he could have a God connection before he dies which he describes as some sort of human transcendence. He speaks glowingly of California and America. He is now a US citizen. Lydon has written some of the most famous songs of the past fifty years: Pretty Vacant, Anarchy in the UK, God Save the Queen, Rise, and World Destruction. Pretty Vacant is on Guitar Hero. He has refused to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the Sex Pistols. This isn't really for women readers unless they happen to want the truth about the origins of Punk and what Malcom McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were trying to do. He talks about Nena Cherry and Poly Styrene of X-Ray Specs and Gwen Dickey of Rose Royce among his many personal contacts. This is still one of my favorite books for what Lydon reveals about himself and how he thinks about things artistically and regarding his value judgements over a lifetime. Several times Lydon repeats himself but that was OK by me. Photos & Index. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Nov 17, 2016 |
Lydon's music has served as a backdrop for a phase in my life...[in progress]
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Anyone who is old enough to remember the mid-late 70s knows who John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten is. Famous – or infamous – for being the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, and then forming Public Image Ltd, Lydon is now almost as well known for his TV appearances on shows like I’m A Celebrity….Get Me Out of Here, Shark Attack, Goes Ape, and even Question Time. Not to mention those Country Life butter advertisements!

As the title suggests, this is indeed his life uncensored and in his own words. (The Anger is an Energy line comes from the PiL song Rise, which is one of my favourite songs.) So much in his own words in fact, that this book feels more like it has been dictated – I think this works, because when I am reading someone’s autobiography I like to feel that I can hear their own voice reciting it, and in this instance I certainly could.

Lydon tells the story of his life pretty much chronologically, although there are intermittent chapters where he gives his thoughts on other aspects of life. It all rattles along entertainingly though, and he is certainly not averse to naming names and giving opinions about people he has met, good or bad. He’s almost shockingly frank regarding his feelings about certain persons (Malcolm McLaren does not come out of it well, and neither does ex-PiL bandmate Keith Levene.) However, his pacifist leanings and his generosity towards others may surprise those who only know him as the angry young punk who fronted the Sex Pistols, swore on live TV and sang songs about anarchy.

I can’t say I agree with everything he says, but I do have a certain respect for him after reading this book, because at least HE agrees with everything he says – he is not in the business of false diplomacy or modesty. I enjoyed reading about his relationship with his long-term partner Nora, to who he is clearly devoted.

Overall, I would say this is an enjoyable and entertaining ride through one man’s life – it did feel like a bit of editing in the middle of the book might have helped, but essentially, while you might say a lot of things about John Lydon, one thing you can’t say is that he is ever boring. If you have any interest in the Sex Pistols, PiL, or the music industry in general, I would recommend this book. ( )
1 vote Ruth72 | Sep 14, 2015 |
The punk gospel acording to John Lydon. Fair enough, he was in at the beginning, but reading this is like being constantly ranted at by a demented preacher. ( )
  davidthomas | Nov 22, 2014 |
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Perry, Andrewmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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"Trials and tribulations!" I wrote in the early '80s, trying to come to grips with the chaos and confusion in which I entered the world.
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Lydon's boyhood recovery from spinal meningitis led him to be the sort of man captured by the book's title. Anger is an Energy was how he fought to stay afloat in the recovery ward after the doctors and nurses pushed him to be constantly aggravated. Lydon makes his claim that the Sex Pistols, and not The Ramones, were the first Punk band.
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