Sex Pistols legend John Lydon stunned fans at a Sheffield book talk revealing he knew about Jimmy Savile’s child sex abuse crimes - but nobody would listen, writes Graham Walker.
The 58-year-old, known to a generation as Johnny Rotten, said he spoke out about it at the time in interviews and it got him banned.
In one reported interview he said he wanted to “kill” Savile, heard fans at Lydon’s Off The Shelf book festival appearance, where he was talking about his book, Anger Is An Energy - My Life Uncensored.
“By killed I meant locking him up and stopping him assaulting young children,” he told 700 peole at the Octagon, where he was in conversation on stage with BBC Radio Sheffield’s Paulette Edwards,
“These are things that me, as a young person, was well aware of and I’m disgusted at the media pretending they weren’t aware.
“Everyone of my age knew what was going on.
“I did what I could. I stood up and did interviews and said these things - and then got banned, for being hard or awkward to work with, or saucy, or filth and fury, etc, etc.
“When you stand up and tell the truth you put your head on the chopping block. Watch out and when you see people cut down - watch who’s doing the cutting.”
Lydon was outspoken on a range of other issues hitting out at politicians, religion, the police, media, TV shows, Sex Pistols tribute acts and even camper vans.
He claimed he moved to America years ago when police harassment became too much and his home was every raided every Friday night for six weeks.
He also told how he has spent a lifetime feeling guilty since the heroin death of Sid Vicious - despite warning him not to take the drug.
“I had been warning him for quite a while to stay away from heroin, but he was doomed from the beginning. His mother was a registered heroin addict and it was almost that he was coached into it,” he said.
“I asked him to join the Pistols and I’m partially to blame here. In fact an awful lot to blame,. And I feel very guilty about it. He was thrown in at the deep end . I just wanted an ally in the band, because I was getting fed up with the others.”
Lydon, who lost his entire memory as a boy after suffering a bout of meningitis, which left him in a coma, also told how he should have been on the Lockerbie plane which was blown up by terrorists. He missed the flight because wife Nora was late packing bags.
In a lighter mood he told how London Olympics director Danny Boyle got him to agree to feature the Sex Pistols alongside all things British, including Dickens and the National Health Service.
“You got your royal box having to stare at that. And the penultimate kiss in the face, done properly, the entire lot had to listen to a minute and 30 seconds of Pretty Vacant.”
He says he didn’t first like the term King Of The Punks, first used by Caroline Coon in the Melody Maker, because he found a derogatory defintiion of the term “punk”.
“But then it stuck and it was on my shoulders to carry that through and turn it into a proper crown. And I did. And I am the King of the Punks,” he said.
“A true punk doesn’t have to dress like the cliches some would have you believe. We are above and beyond uniforms. Every now and again I do enjoy a saucy number. You should see my incontinence pants. They have studs. And they are difficult to sit down in.”
Lydon also spoke about his variety of jobs, from sewage farm worker to looking after problem children - which he did just before joinig the Sex Piistols.
He starts recording his new album in a fortnight and plans to tour all next year with his band, Public Image Limited.
Anger Is An Energy - My Life Uncensored, is available now.
The Star backed Off The Shelf festival runs until November 1, with additional events already under way. This year it boasts an incredible 240 events.
For a list of all events and more visit the festival’s official web site, at www.offtheshelf.org.uk or call the events office for a guide book on 0114 273 440.
If you are unable to attend events, book sellers Rhyme and Reason, who will have stalls at the live events, can organise signed copies of books - call 0114 266 1950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.