Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll

This revealing interview with Sid and Nancy was printed in the Record Mirror on April 8th, 1978. It was accompanied with a number of well-publicised shots taken by photographers Steven Emberton and Richard Mann.

When SID VICIOUS was at the height of fame with the Sex Pistols, he was supporting an £80 a day heroin habit. His fix cost £40 and he had to find the same again for his American girlfriend NANCY SPUNGEN. Here they talk to ROSALIND RUSSELL about the hell they lived through and how they kicked the habit. Their first night of sex together, Sid's overdose and why he quit the band. Now, as they say, read on, over page...

* * * * *

WHEN SID Vicious was at the height of his notoriety with the Sex Pistols, he was supporting an £80 a day heroin habit.

As the Pistols were - as they are now - on a wage of £60 a week, the frantic hustle for money became more desperate as the days went by. Not only had Sid to find the necessary £40 for his own fix, he had to find the same for his girlfriend, American dancer Nancy Spungen, who was also addicted.

And all the time he begged and borrowed, he knew that time was running out. The more addicted he became to the drug, the more he'd have to step up the dose as he gradually became immune to the smaller amounts. By the time he stepped off the merry-go-round of no hope, he was injecting two grams a day.

"We used to ride around in cabs for hours, trying to raise the money," Sid told me. "We had to blag it from everywhere, sometimes from Virgin Records. It was very difficult getting that much money. Then we had to find a contact who could sell us smack. And if he didn't have any, we'd have to go on to the next.

"It's the worst pain in the world. One minute you feel hot, so you take some clothes off, and the next you're freezing and you'd have to put them all back on again. Sometimes we'd just inject cold water, just to get the buzz of seeing the blood and the needle go in. We had needle fixation."

Although both Nancy and Sid have kicked the heroin habit, they both bear the scars on the back of their hands, permanent reminders of the hell they lived through. It's not even as if Sid went into this unaware of the peril. Nancy had been a heroin addict for over three years and she warned Sid about the pain and suffering the drug caused. But he had to find out for himself. The hard way.

When they decided to break the addiction, Nancy was accepted for a programme of methadone treatment. Methadone is a drug which blocks heroin and takes away the high, and as Nancy says, it buys you time to sort yourself out. Sid opted for the other way. He tried to come straight off heroin without any other treatment, but it resulted in so much pain, he eventually had to give in and join Nancy on the programme. Now both are "clean" and fighting for survival without the threat of addiction and early death, hanging over them.

"I got Sid on the programme when he came back from the States," said Nancy. "John Rotten used to laugh at him, saying, 'what are you fixing now?' That's the cruellest thing you can say to someone who's trying to come off. But you just can't do cold turkey by yourself. Fixing was almost sexual, almost orgasmic, but it was awful.

"Sid used to phone me from wherever he was and I knew the pain he was in. On Christmas night, I was so worried about him, I took a cab to Leicester with all his Christmas presents, a shirt and a camera I'd bought for him and some other things. He wasn't expecting me, but when I arrived, he was so pleased to see me, and he just ripped off all the wrapping paper just like a little kid."

Sid and Nancy are devoted to each other and it's hard to see how either of them would survive without the other to lean on and support. Although Nancy maintains she doesn't just want to be known as "Sid's old lady" and that they are definitely NOT getting married, she is eager for confirmation that they are a well suited couple. However the rest of the world might view Sid Vicious, to Nancy he's perfect, sweet and kind. They live in a dream of their own, protecting each other from harm, either real or imaginary.

* * * * *

SCENE ONE

But over lunch at a London restaurant, they both told me they didn't expect to live for very long, even though they have conquered their drug problem.

"I'll die before I'm very old," prophesised Sid. "I don't know why, I just have this feeling. There have been plenty of other times I've nearly died."

"I've saved his life lots of times, and nothing to do with drugs," claimed Nancy.

"When?" asked Sid. Nancy leaned over the table and whispered. They decided against telling me the details.

"I will kill myself as soon as the first wrinkle appears," declared Nancy. "I don't want to lose my looks."

Nancy rearranged her mass of blonde curly hair. She's only five-foot-one, but well put together. She comes from a wealthy family, but was packed off to a boarding school for problem rich kids when she was eleven-years-old. She claims she went to New York when she was fifteen and made her living by doing exotic dancing. How exotic?

"With no clothes on," she admitted candidly.

She met Sid in a gay punk club just over a year ago and the couple have been inseperable ever since. During lunch they fondled each other under the table and stopped eating every now and then to kiss and cuddle. Nancy ordered Sid's food for him, but had to cajole him into eating anything, by saying that if he didn't eat, then she wouldn't either.

In the end, Nancy managed to put away quite a bit of lunch (she's been sick recently and had hardly eaten for two weeks) but the most Sid could manage was a small salad and a sweet. He's mad about sweet things and would probably live off chocolates if he wasn't persuaded to eat other food.

"Haven't they got any peppermint schnapps?" asked Sid. "I really like that, I drank two bottles of it in the States. I also drank a bottle of mescala, including the worm they put at the bottom."

But Nancy is controlling Sid's drinking too, until he's in better health.

"Don't you think I'm looking better?" asked Sid.

I don't know because I've never met him before. All I know is that Sid looks pretty frightening in his red T-shirt with the black and white Swastika on the front, his chain and padlock and his black leather biker's boots. He is careful about his appearance and fanatical about his black spikey hair. If it looked as if Nancy's hand was going anywhere near his head, he backed off. But Sid doesn't see himself as a fightening person at all - and of course neither does Nancy.

"When I was in America, I went up to this bloke in a car to ask directions," said Sid. "But he wound up his window and drove away. And then when I went to talk to a bunch of spades, they ran away saying 'don't hit me, don't hit me.'"

Nancy: "Sid is so sweet and kind. He's bought over £2,000 worth of presents. He's bought me loads of clothes, these leather trousers, my Nazi belt, jewellry and make-up. He bought me a lighter from Sweden and some really neat stuff from the States. He buys me really pretty underwear, bras and that kind of stuff. Yes, I suppose as much for himself as for me!"

But, perhaps because of his appearance, Sid finds himself in a lot of fights. He has his right eye half closed most of the time - a reminder he says, of the time the police beat him up after the famous 100 Club gig.

"The cops are really after us now," says Sid. "It's turning into a Keith (Richards) and Anita (Pallenberg) thing. But they wont get anywhere because we're clean now. I've been beaten up in London a few times. Two guys started on me in Dingwalls - the previous day I had got a knife in the leg, but I started on him with a broken bottle.

"I got in a fight at the Speakeasy, but I got my hand in his mouth and ripped it open while Nancy kicked him in the balls. And then at the Roxy some kids jumped me and they got me on the floor and kicked me. Nancy stepped on their balls."

They're a formidable pair of tag wrestlers, so don't ever think you can take them on and get away unscathed.

"I protected John Rotten once," said Sid. "There were six guys eyeing him up at the Roxy and he didn't even know. I started screwing them out, staring at them. Then I took off my chain and started swinging it round. I hit all of them. Otherwise Rotten would've got killed.

"I don't fight unless anyone starts on me. I used to fight a lot more but now I'm with Nancy.

"At the Rainbow one of my mates started on a bouncer and he was getting beaten up, so I put a bottle over his head. It was at the Ramones gig. Nancy stopped me though, she's really strong, she clamped my arms back. I get out of control sometimes.

"At school I got in fights every day, I just liked the feeling of mashing someone up and splitting them open. I was at six schools but the last one was at Clissold Park in Stoke Newington. I got kicked out of them all for fighting. At school it was all the Marquis of Queensbury rules, now you can use fair means or foul."

"We had a fight in a hotel with John Martyn once," remembered Nancy. "When he asked me if I liked it doggy style."

But the main topic of conversation over lunch was John Rotten, and Sid's present disgust with him.

"I'll give you the whole story, the story that's never been told before," said Sid. "And it's scandalous...

"Did you know that John Rotten has had a steel door installed in his London home, costing £300, because he's paranoid about being kidnapped. He thinks gangsters are following him around trying to kill him. When the Lous played at the Music Machine, I stole a guitar strap from one of them and Rotten said that one of them pulled a gun on him and threatened to kill him unless I gave the strap back.

"He lies, tells petty little lies. It's ever since he was attacked, he's been paranoid. We did what we could do to make John better, but it was no good. I left the group because he was embarrassing me. What happened was that Rotten tried to have me fired and then Malcolm had a talk with me. Malcolm said he wouldn't manage the group if they threw me out. You can ask Malcolm. He'll confirm everything I've told you. He said it was up to me to sort John out because he was my best friend.

"They didn't kick me out then. It was in Frisco when the group broke up, but I'll tell you more about that afterwards..."

* * * * *

SCENE TWO

A cab going to Virgin boss Richard Branson's house. Nancy catches sight of a man 'of a different culture' crossing the road.

"I can't stand Pakis," she remarked.

Are you both racialist, I asked.

"Oh no, we like spades," answered Sid.

As we drive past Buck House, Sid's still talking about the problems he had coming off heroin and I'm reminded about the summer day last year when the Pistols played on that boat on the Thames, and sang 'Anarchy' as we sailed past the House of Commons.

* * * * *

SCENE THREE

Richard Branson's beautiful house and Sid's looking for something that takes his fancy to pinch. Both Sid and Nancy are anxious that their photos for the feature should turn out well and Nancy retouches her make up. They offer to strip off and screw on the pool table, but I declined the offer (on behalf of the photographer who probably wouldn't have declined) as there's not much chance of getting it printed.

Sid and Nancy sit close together on a leather sofa, Sid casually twiddling with Nancy's nipple as they talk. They're like a couple of lovesick kids and it wasn't much fun for me playing gooseberry.

I asked Sid if he felt used by Malcolm and the group. To me, it looked as though McLaren got a lot of mileage out of Sid as far as the Pistols' publicity was concerned.

"Not at all. We wore what we wanted to wear, no-one ever engineered anything. We have never done anything that was contrived. It was always spontaneous. Even the Bill Grundy thing. We were just our natural selves. That's how we got our publicity, but it was too much for people to handle."

Certainly the so-called public outcry was spectacular. I say "so-called" because I don't think it was all genuine. I know that one reporter made up a story which was supposed to have come from an affronted member of the public. I asked Sid if he felt maligned by the Press and the public.

"Not really," he replied. "Because I know that I can be pretty nasty if I get in a fight. I fight a lot and that's how I got my image. But not anymore than most people. I was more radical. John Rotten was quieter than me. He had a lot of things in his mind, he thought a lot. I was more physical. But I'm not that tough. I mean, I'm pretty vicious. That's just the way I am but I don't go looking for trouble. I'm nice to my friends, but my enemies better watch out. Nancy is my best mate."

NANCY ON THEIR FIRST NIGHT TOGETHER...

"We slept in the same bed for five days before we screwed. We screwed as a joke really. He didn't appeal to me sexually then. One night I woke up and he was rubbing up and down my thigh and I said: 'Sid what do you think you are doing?' He said to me, 'how is it that all the girls I fancy never like me?' so the next night, when we were down at the Roxy, I said to him, 'right, tonight we'll screw.' And we went home and we did. We did it in the bedroom, we did it in the bathroom, we did it everywhere.

"And do you know that John Rotten listened outside all the doors! John had made a beeline for my bed - there were two single beds in the room, I was in one and Sid was in the other - for the first two nights. I slept in the same bed as John and he said to me, 'You want it but you're not going to get it.' Now what do you suppose that means? Don't you think it means that he just wanted to get in my pants? Anyway, later I slept with Sid.

"On the first night we screwed, me and Sid, he had smelly feet and he wet the bed."

Presumably, Nancy has found Sid attractive since their first meeting. What does he have now that he didn't have then?

"I find him sexually attractive now. Don't you think he has a sexual aura? I've taught him everything he needs to know. I've put that sexual aura into Sid, he was pretty near virgin before. He was turned on by me like he never was before. He had a schoolboy crush on me. You know, people have said that I've grown up too fast. Well maybe that's true but I think I've grown up pretty damn smart."

AND STILL ON SEX...

Sid: "I had a phase of dressing up in women's clothes when I was about fourteen or fifteen. I did it for about a couple of months. I borrowed the clothes from my friends. No, not my mothers'."

I asked Nancy what she thought of Sid's mum, the lady who referred to her as 'Nauseating Nancy'.

"I hate his mother. I don't know if I should say this but I will. She's a bitch."

Mrs Beverley's opinion of Nancy doesn't influence Sid in the slightest, he's daft about his girl.

"She's the best looking bird I have ever seen, that's why I like to screw her," remarked Sid simply.

The happy couple have just made another court appearance with regard to their drugs bust a while back.

Nancy: "We were at court again and spent all that money getting experts and top lawyers in and the police have asked for the case to be ajourned again until May. It's disgusting."

Sid: "I coughed up a big greenie and put it on a press photographer's coat in court. I saw him showing it to a policeman and we were laughing. It was very funny."

But all these things are really side issues. The burning topic with Sid right now is the collapse of the Sex Pistols and the bitterness he feels with Rotten. That's who he feels is responsible for the disintegration of the group and the end of the joy he felt with playing in the group he first admired as a fan.

Sid: "John has lied about everything. After he got beaten up he was terrified and wanted to leave the country. His nose got slightly broken and now it looks funny. Now he's surrounded by bouncers and he's got a bodyguard living in his house with him. There's always somebody there to hold little Johnny's hand.

"John looks pretty silly now. He wears the worst hats. He'd go onstage looking like that. Steve and Paul wouldn't confront him with it but I did so many times. He'd say 'you're just a junkie'. But we're reformed users. The way he went onstage, he looked such a mess. He had no charisma left, he lost everything, he even forgot the words. He forgot the words of 'Anarchy In The UK'. I like everyone to look good, not just the central figure. I wanted him to look as good as me and Steve. Cook had more charisma than John."

Nancy: "Everyone was looking at Sid, John wasn't doing anything."

Sid: "Shut up Nancy and let me talk. What I'm upset about is that I used to think the guy was fantastic. What they (the Pistols) were couldn't be equalled. John was truly amazing as a performer. To see him go from that to the pathetic mess was... he couldn't look after himself. I could fight with bottles and knives. He couldn't handle the pressure and as far as I'm concerned he was a weak person.

"I tried to understand at first and be helpful, but in the end it got worse and worse and he wouldn't listen to advice. Before I left, I said if John doesn't change for the better then that's it. I wanted him back the way he was. I told him I wouldn't play with him anymore.

"I phoned him up and said 'you're pathetic, you're a mess'.

"Don't you think I'm looking good now, better than Rotten? He looked shabby and dirty. He's always been shabby and dirty but it doesn't fit anymore. He can't be bothered. I don't ever want to see him again. I haven't seen the others yet (Steve and Paul) but I will. Do you think a silly hunter's hat fit in a rock and roll group? It would be like me dressing up in a Kaftan.

"Then he started coming out with all these silly gangster stories, about them following him. He said his life was in danger. It was so pathetic and laughable. He used to say he couldn't turn up to rehearsals because it would ruin his voice. He said we left him out of everything but that's not true because Malcolm used to take him to parties and everything. It just went on and on.

"When we toured Sweden I was in a real mess because I had hepatitis, I drank a lot and I nearly died. I saw the deterioration then in John. He wasn't what he used to be.

"I told him I didn't want to be associated with a band where someone wore funny hats. I've been a punk kid since I left home, when I was kicked out when I was sixteen. We didn't get on at home, my mother hated me. I was always interested in getting a group together. But the clothes I like to wear are leather jacket and jeans, they're utility wear, pretty ordinary. Can you just imagine me and Steve and Paul in a band with John and he wore dirty old baggy trousers and a poxy top from SEX?"

Sid momentarily closed his eyes. He often seems to nod off when you're talking to him - and I don't think it's because I'm particularly boring. He just slips off for a few seconds and loses all track of the conversation.

I asked him what he thought of John Rotten's all expenses paid trip to Jamaica.

"I didn't think anything. He just got into this fashion of reggae because he likes to think he knows more than everyone else. I like reggae but I can't be bothered to research it and find out about everything just so I can give smart answers. That's musical snobbery and that's what John's into. He's very snobbish like that.

"He talks about me being a junkie. I was a junkie but I'm not anymore, I'm clean, I'm rehabilitated. When we did the tour of Sweden, it was a bad tour. I'd played so few gigs I wasn't any good onstage. But John started smoking and he's an alcoholic as well."

What about the quote in another paper where John referred to Sid as being weak?

"Well I managed to keep myself together in America while he was just embarrassing," replied Sid. "Steve and Paul talked to the fans a bit. I talked to them a lot. They all said John was no good, that he detracted from the band. He wasn't as good as they expected. They hated him in San Francisco. He just hid in his hotel room and the fans asked me if he was a superstar."

After the tour of Sweden, Sid started to run into real trouble with the band.

"There was a lull," said Sid. "John didn't turn up to rehearsals, no-one turned up. Seven nights in a row I went along and no-one was there. I organised a rehearsal myself. I phoned them up and went mad at them and told them that they'd better turn up. They did, and then they tried to sack me because of Nancy.

"They said if I didn't stop hanging around with Nancy and all of my friends they were going to kick me out of the band. I said 'that's blackmail. See how far you get without me, you'll get nowhere!'

"Malcolm came to my house the next day and we had a long discussion and he ended up on my side and realised they just wanted to cop out. They wanted it to end - that was just before we went to Holland.

"Really, my personal opinion is that they would never confront John. They were scared of him because he was good at winning arguments. He could beat anyone in an argument. He'd never admit he was wrong. So was Malcolm. So they used me as a scapegoat to try finish it off. They gave in, in the end, because they knew it was ridiculous."

But the situation took an even more sinister turn, according to Nancy. All the way through the last part of Sid's vituperative attack on Rotten and the band, Nancy was desperate to get a word in. Now she had her say, and what she claimed is as astonishing as it is bizarre. Nancy claims that Malcolm McLaren and his associates at Glitterbest (the management company) tried to remove her influence on Sid.

Nancy: "They sent Sid off, very conveniently, to the dentist. Someone came round and picked me up in the car to take me shopping for some things for the flat. We actually did buy some things for the kitchen.

"Then I mentioned a place I wanted to go, and she said no. She was taking me to the airport. I said 'what? Paddington police station is just across the road!'

"She took me back to Malcolm's office and they were all there. They said I was the cause of the band's problems. I had actually offered to go back to the States for a two-week vacation to let them sort themselves out.

"Malcolm said he was giving me a ticket to the States, he actually had the ticket there. I said 'how am I going to get back?' He got nasty and said why should he give me a ticket back? He said, 'this group is falling apart and you're the cause of it!'"

Nancy's voice began to break with emotion and Sid put a protective arm around her. She was very close to tears.

"No-one in New York knew I was coming and I didn't have a halfpenny. How would I have got home from Kennedy airport in New York?

"I said 'who's going to tell Sid I've gone?' Who'd DARE tell him I was on a plane to New York and that he'd never see me again? I'd never see Sidney, my best mate, ever again..."

"It's alright Nancy," whispered Sid, stroking her hair. "Don't cry. It's all over and it happened a long time ago. You know," he turned to me, "I'd have beaten them up. She could've died on that plane without her methadone. It would've been murder."

Whether or not that's true - they are both very melodramatic, although these things are real and important to them - the separation would've caused them suffering.

Nancy: "I said, 'what are you trying to do?' Sid would have left the group if he'd found I'd gone. They wouldn't have told him what happened. He would have come home from the dentist and I wouldn't have been there. They'd have told him I left him."

Sid: "I'd have left the group. I couldn't work with people as slimey as that."

But he did. Sid continued to work with McLaren and the Pistols. Is there that much difference between trying a stunt like that and actually bringing it off?

"I made it so clear that I'd kill them if it ever happened again," said Sid fending off the question. "I never trusted Malcolm anyway. I said I'd go to Holland with them but if any of them tried that again while I was gone I'd kill them."

"They wouldn't even let me get my methadone," interrupted Nancy, her eyes filling with tears again. "But I'm a strong enough person not to have got on that plane."

"You could always have refused to get on it," said Sid sensibly.

"I'm almost crying now just thinking about it," continued Nancy. "I'd never see Sid again or say goodbye to him."

"It was the management, not the band," said Sid. "At that time I was still prepared to give the band another try. They know how nasty I can get if I get annoyed. There were six of them on to Nancy and all blokes as well."

Nancy: "That shows how strong and what a smart person I am."

By this time, Nancy was in tears. Sid cuddled her comfortingly, but was careful it didn't mess up his hair. "Don't get too emotional about it, Nancy..."

"John bucked up a bit after that," he went on. "He wasn't too bad. I was sick all the time in Holland and they were really unreasonable about it. Malcolm and the band treated me like dirt.

"They made me walk to the doctor in the rain, and when I fell down Malcolm kicked me. I was shivering and the doctor wouldn't give me much valium. Malcolm was laughing at me."

That would seem a good enough reason in anybody's book to quit the band there and then. Why didn't he?

"My only motivation for staying with the band at the time was that I thought there was a chance of Rotten getting it back together again. I stayed with that band until I was sure there was no hope.

"John Rotten was my friend, a really good friend. I liked that guy so much, I admired him. He was so radical. I don't know whether he regarded me as his best friend but I regarded him as mine..."

All of these allegations are pretty heavy stuff, so Sid's involvement with the Pistols must have gone deep. But surely he must have felt hurt, or at the very least, let down by McLaren and the band. After all, he'd been a fan of the Pistols long before he joined them, playing bass with them was the fulfillment of a dream for him.

"I don't get feelings like that," he replied staunchly. "What upset me was that they were a good group and I'd been a fan. They were my favourite group. Yes, well, I guess I must've been hurt. I was hurt for Steve and Paul because John had let them down. He was horrible and awful, acting the big star.

"John started out not to be a star but he started thinking too much of himself. At first, in the 100 Club days he was the focal point. Since Sweden, me and Steve have been the focal points. Lately it's been us (Sid often refers to the band as if it still exists as a working entity).

"John has not been interesting, or threatening, he has no confidence. He does that silly skank dance to rock and roll. He looks a fool in that hunter's hat, doing reggae skank dances. He looks ridiculous and he made us look foolish. That's what pissed me off."

In which case, Sid must've had reservations, not to mention fears about going to the States and performing there.

"Yes, I suppose I had. I said to my friends that if things hadn't sorted themselves out and if John hadn't improved vastly and got himself together I would leave the group. I wasn't prepared to be made to look ridiculous."

So how did he feel when he actually got to America, how did things go? Sid shook himself awake from the reverie he'd fallen into.

"I felt awful, I felt tired from the jet lag. We flew straight from New York to Atlanta and met our bodyguards, who looked like the Mafia. We checked into this awful hotel and hung around for two days before we did anything."

But the gigs...?

"I felt John wasn't any good. He lost all his charisma and me and Steve were the frontmen. I hoped he'd look good instead of a dirty old bum. And he looked shorter. He's quite tall you know, but when you let yourself go, you start to look shorter. He was a pain in the arse. He was such a prima donna...

"Then we did that really big gig at the San Francisco Wintergarden. It was very important because it was in front of a lot of people who we could have won over to us. It was really great. I loved playing there.

"Then they sprang it on us that we were planning to go to Rio De Janeiro to see that train robber, Ronnie Biggs.

"Malcolm just came to collect me from Haight Ashbury where I'd been staying with some punk kids, at five in the morning. I went off in the car with them but on the way to the airport I said to Malcolm that I was embarrassed about John. And anyway, I didn't want to go to play to a lot of Pakis who didn't even understand us or know what we were on about. It's pathetic, I said. I told him I thought it as stupid, a hype. I hate hypes. I said I didn't like what was going down in the group. I said I would leave the group because I didn't think John was a worthwhile performer anymore.

"Malcolm said to me - and you can ask him this, he'll tell you it's true - he said that John Rotten is just like Robert Plant onstage now. He said, 'he's letting you all down'. I said, 'take me back to Haight Ashbury'. I thought it over for a couple of hours, then I phoned John and said to him 'you're a failure, you're useless and you have been for the last eight months'. He said 'you're just junked out and that's why you're saying this.' No-one thinks I'm off it, but I am. Have you written that down?

"That's the last time I saw him. He's a nothing person as far as I'm concerned. He became a nonentity.

"In Germany one night, John got drunk and told me he owned me, that he had got me into the group. He said me and Steve and Paul were his puppets, and that I'd better step in line. He said he could have a solo contract with A&M. Everytime I brought that up afterwards, he denied saying it, but it's true."

* * * * *

SCENE FOUR

In a cab going to Sid and Nancy's flat. Nancy has asked the driver to turn off his music and he's getting irate. So Sid and Nancy amuse themselves by holding each other close.

"You sexy bitch," whispers Sid. I feel even more like a gooseberry. While we stop at the shops for Nancy to buy some milk, Sid told me how much he cares for Nancy, just how beautiful he thinks she is and about the first time they met in the gay club.

"Everybody used to think Rotten and I were bum benders," he remarked. "We thought it was funny, so we played up to it."

* * * * *

SCENE FIVE

Sid and Nancy's flat. Nancy apologises for the mess, but they're still doing the place up and have only got a couple of rooms straight so far. Sid zooms straight into the bedroom and turns on the TV to watch The Bionic Woman, although as far as he's concerned, Nancy is the only real woman on the planet.

Temporarily leaving aside his feelings about the Pistols, Sid launched into an attack on The Jam.

"That's another thing I've wanted to clear up for a while," he began. "That thing about The Jam's 'In The City' and our 'Holidays In The Sun'. We wrote 'Holidays' a year ago when we were in Berlin, so we didn't copy their song. It's not a rip off, we hadn't even heard theirs. The only reason we didn't record it then was because we didn't have a contract. You can tell them that if I see any of The Jam in the street I'm going to beat the shit out of them. Anyway, they didn't play it as well."

Suddenly, loud and alarming groans came from the bathroom. I asked Sid if he thought Nancy was all right. He told me she'd been having trouble with her kidneys and they've been giving her pain for some time. But she maintained she didn't want to go to hospital, although Sid thought she was very sick. She came and lay on the bed and Sid softly stroked her hair while we talked. We got back to the subject of Rotten and the States.

"John went to New York and hung around with the people he'd said he despised before. Then I got sick on the plane from LA to New York..."

Yes, the much reported overdose...

"The OD was an accident. I'd drunk too much and I'd got some methadone from the doctor there. It was stronger than the stuff you get here. I was only supposed to take a bit, but I took it all. I was tired and I went to sleep and I woke up two days later in hospital. Apparently I nearly got arrested. I was terrified, waking up in a strange place on a drip feed. I didn't know anyone.

"But Boogie, our roadie, came and got me out and got me home. I haven't done a lot since then, but I might get a band together with Johnny Thunders, I haven't had any other offers, but I really don't want to play with anyone else. I still get my £60 a week from the Pistols. They're doing the accounts now but I wont get any royalties until June."

Nancy (recovered a bit, but still moaning quietly in pain): "We were on the streets for six months, before we found this flat. At least we have a roof over our heads now. Oh, don't mind me, please go on with the interview. I don't want to go to hospital. I damaged my kidneys in a car accident and then the police took my kidney pills when we were arrested and they didn't give me them back."

I asked Sid how he was going to spend his money when he gets it. After all, Never Mind the Bollocks was a number one album, so there must be a fair bit of money coming.

"I don't know," said Sid. "But I'm not going to give it to any pussycat's home."

We were both getting a bit anxious about Nancy by this time, but I hoped it was just indigestion - the symptoms are the same. Sid continued on the subject of John.

"John said to me, 'listen Sidney, don't tell me what to do, I'm always right and I'm always a success'. Now his bass player and his best friend has walked out on him. He's a loser now. He's finished. I tried to help quite a lot. I had to be cruel to be kind - do you know what I mean? It really upsets me that he's no longer my friend. He's so worthless and awful. It makes me feel really sad.

"He might not think that I tried to help him, but I did. At one time, when I first left home, I got myself in a real mess. Not quite as big a mess as John's in. He said to me, 'I don't want to know you, you're embarrassing.' I got the message and pulled myself back together. That's what friends are for, to tell you when you look a mess. But he took it personally."

With all this between them, surely he must hate Rotten now?

"No I don't hate him. I could never hate anybody. I'd love to see him looking great, I'd be so happy and I'd respect him and like him then. Everybody looks on me as the person who broke up the Sex Pistols, but it was Rotten who ruined it."

The hurt goes pretty deep with Sid, it's plain to see. Also very obvious are the vivid scars on his arms, and they've nothing to do with fixing either. Were these the marks he inflicted on himself when he cut himself up in the States?

"Yes. I've been through a phase of cutting myself up. I was cutting myself up because I was angry and I had no-one else to cut up. So I cut up myself. I don't feel so angry now, so I don't do it anymore. I had more pressure on me than anyone else in the group. I had to play dope sick a lot of those nights and no-one understood what it was like. But I still played all right, though I was in the worst pain in the world, I survived because I was so tough."

I think he's wrong. I don't think Sid Vicious is tough at all. Sure, he looks fierce, but you don't judge someone by his looks. He's angry and upset because he's been let down by his best friend and long time hero and that disappointment goes deep with Sid. And I've seen him with Nancy, the only girl in the world as far as he's concerned.

When it comes down to it, Sid Vicious is just another lover who brings home presents for his girl and buys her nice underwear and worries about her when she's sick. And I'm not taking the mick, because their last words to me were:

"Please don't take the piss out of us. Everybody does that..."


WRITER:
Rosalind Russell

ARTICLE AND IMAGE CREDIT:
Record Mirror

THANKS:
Nathalie Lundevall