John Lydon:
No.1 magazine, May 10th 1986

Transcribed (and additional info) by Karsten Roekens



No.1 magazine, May 10th 1986John Lydon is not normally the easiest of interviewees, but today he's on fine form, despite the fact that he and his wife Nora are suffering something rotten from an encounter with a bottle of red wine or three the previous evening. John, wearing one of characteristic big, boldly checked suits, his hair standing comically to attention, is bright and chirpy. Nora is a little more subdued and taking it easy, lying full-length on a Habitat sofa, the pattern of which reminds her of vomit, she cheerfully announces. Hangovers are quickly forgotten, however, as they recount some of the most fascinating, intimate revelations this side of 'EastEnders' to which, fact fiends, John Lydon is completely addicted. DEANNE PEARSON is all ears, MARTIN HAGGERTY all eyes.

DEANNE PEARSON: "How do you construct your hairdo?"

JOHN LYDON: "Years ago I put hairdye on my hair and I was in a rush, so instead of washing it out I dried it with a hairdryer and it went solid. So I just broke it into lumps, I put wire around the bottom on occasions to make it stand up." (he fingers the baby dreadlocks affectionately) "They're purely a temporary thing though, I'll cut them off soon."

DEANNE PEARSON: "Why did you tell everyone you were married?" (a fact recently refuted in the papers by John's so-called 'best friend' Jock McDonald) [1]

JOHN LYDON: "Because we are! How dare Jock McDonald present himself as my spokesman and friend! You couldn't get more like an enemy than him. He's a totally useless human being. Yes, we're married. Well, maybe we're not – who knows? I'm just sooo desperate to follow on Madonna and Sean Penn's ego trip."

DEANNE PEARSON: "What's your house in California like?"

JOHN LYDON: "Small, two-storey. A palace – although you wouldn't get Arabs living there. We don't like a lot of furniture so it's really sparse, and it's in the middle of a very mad area. There are a few stones and a wall outside the front door, which I suppose you could call a garden. And it's near the sea."

DEANNE PEARSON: "What do you usually keep in your fridge?"

JOHN LYDON: "Orange juice and corn on the cob and beer."

DEANNE PEARSON: "Where do you get your clothes from?"

JOHN LYDON: "Stephen King, which I think is a magnificent shop. I like everything he's got in there. I went in there the other week and got one of everything. I've also been wearing these '40s and '50s-style suits, which I got from junk shops, for years."

DEANNE PEARSON: "When did you last speak to a punk?"

JOHN LYDON: "A punk? What's that? These jaded old farts? They just don't progress. You can't stay in the past, that's not what anything should be about. I mean, they're more ridiculous than the Teddy Boys when I first started. You've got to move on. Punk is an attitude, not a style of dress. It's just a shame that the 'Daily Mirror' seem to have manipulated those people more than their own brains. They don't seem to respect the act of the individual, they all look like a cliché."

No.1 magazine, May 10th 1986DEANNE PEARSON: "Do you contribute to any charities?"

JOHN LYDON: "No, I don't trust any of them. Band Aid I particularly don't trust, I think the politics behind it are too naive. There's a civil war going on there – which army are you going to feed? You have to bear all that in mind."

DEANNE PEARSON: "What do you think about Feargie?"

JOHN LYDON: "Sharkey?! Oh, her – that bland thing! That creature! Well, she's a bit of a non-entity, isn't he? That's all I can say, I don't really care."

DEANNE PEARSON: "What's your idea of an attractive woman?"


DEANNE PEARSON: "What's your favourite place in the world?"

JOHN LYDON: "I don't have one. I travel around too much. I tend to make home wherever I am at that particular moment. I'm not particularly fond of any one country, I'm not nationalistic."

DEANNE PEARSON: "When was the last time you had a really good laugh?"

JOHN LYDON: "Oh, ages ago! No – the Fulham by-election! [2] It was outrageous, it was hilarious. When they were all trying to give their serious speeches and that silly Lord Sutch party was giggling and whooping about. What a fiasco. If you need any more proof that it's a waste of time voting, that is it. That and Sigue Sigue Sputnik on 'Top Of The Pops', [3] that was on the same level. They're too daft to be taken seriously and they're cetainly a bit stuck now, aren't they doing '20th Century Boy' for their next single?" [4]

DEANNE PEARSON: "Do you tan easily?"

JOHN LYDON: "No. I go blotchy red and get freckles, and then my skin blisters and hurts for weeks. So I avoid the sun, but I like to know it's outside the window."

DEANNE PEARSON: "Who's your best friend?"


DEANNE PEARSON: "What do you miss most about England when you're away?"

JOHN LYDON: "Not a lot. English accents, that's about it. In America you have to strain your ears to hear what they're saying because of that awful drawl they have. When you're in Europe it's hard to understand half the languages, they babble on so inconsistently. And the Australian accent drives me up the bloody wall. And the Japs are an obvious problem!"

DEANNE PEARSON: "What's the greatest lie you've ever told?"

JOHN LYDON: "I don't think I ever have. Hmmm – that's probably it!"

DEANNE PEARSON: "Can you cook?"

JOHN LYDON: "Yeah, vegetable stews, and I do a really good watercress soup. But that's about it."

DEANNE PEARSON: "What's your favourite part of your body?"

JOHN LYDON: "My brain."

DEANNE PEARSON: "If you could change any part of your body, which would it be?"

JOHN LYDON: "Me feet. I hate them. They're kind of chubby, with cruched-up toes."

DEANNE PEARSON: "Would you ever contemplate plastic surgery?"

JOHN LYDON: "If I could have a chaise longue grafted onto my backside. Or wheels on my feet – 'Push me to the toilet ...!'"

DEANNE PEARSON: "Have you got a computer?"

JOHN LYDON: "No. I bought one in America but I got so bored with it I gave it to the accountant. I have no inclination towards electronics of any kind, unless it's hi-fi."

DEANNE PEARSON: "What are your vital statistics?"

JOHN LYDON: "Forget it. I'm a slim 30 and I've got a body like a ruler, it goes straight all the way down – no curves, no bumps, featureless."

DEANNE PEARSON: "Do you belong to any clubs?"

JOHN LYDON: "No, although I'm joining this 'Holidays For The Invalids' thing soon. No – not me, silly! You put £300 in and some poor invalid has a good holiday out of it. And you get photos of them on holiday. I want proof that my money's well spent!"


[1] Jock McDonald co-promoted PIL's two Rainbow gigs in 1978 and co-founded the band 4" Be 2" with John Lydon's younger brother Jimmy in 1979. In early 1986 he flooded the market with low-quality Sex Pistols bootlegs much to Lydon's anger.
[2] Screaming Lord Sutch's 'Official Monster Raving Loony Party' got 134 votes (0,4%) in the Fulham by-election (10 April 1986).
[3] Sigue Sigue Sputnik presented their debut single 'Love Missile F1-11' (27 February 1986).
[3] The song's title was actually '21st Century Boy'.


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