Public Image Limited:

Clinton Heylin

Omnibus Press, July 1989

96 pages
Out of Print

review by Scott M, March 2006
© 2006 / F&F Publishing

Rise/FallFor one reason or another I've chosen to ignore reviewing this book for a long time. But even in 2006 (17 years after it was published) I still get enquiries about it; and I've even heard it's becoming collectable. Heaven forbid.

There have been many people over the years who have offered to review it for the site, but no one ever has. However, one recent email has finally broke the horses back and I've decided to take the bull(shit) by the horns.

Somewhat surprisingly - given the vampiric cash-in culture unfortunately surrounding John Lydon - 'Rise/Fall' is still the only PiL book available to date, but be warned, it's just another bog-standard trashy Omnibus Press pop biography. It's nothing to get excited about, and it's certainly not worth hunting. It's simply a bunch of music paper cuttings strung together with bad opinion; by a self-appointed "PiL expert". Has anybody even saw a copy of this so-called 'Piles' fanzine he did, thought not.

Ok, there is some good info in there, and if you were new to PiL it would probably fill in a few gaps. But there are far too many bitter half-truths and factual mistakes for it to get pass marks. From the first page he sets out to nail John Lydon, and completely trashes everything post-Levene. Why write a book on someone/something you so obviously resent? Filthy lucre ain't nothing new. But anyway, he protests too much methinks.

If you were unfamiliar with PiL this book could easily cloud your judgement, it's also far from complete and only runs to approximately 1988. Do yourself a favour and have a proper read of this website. Everything you need is here. Don't waste your time on this "abortion of a PiL book" as I once called it . Not that it would take long to read 96 pages full of pictures (pathetic). PiL is all about open-mindedness, but this book isn't. The title says it all. He hasn't even had the common decency to interview anyone in the band, it's a total hack job from start to finish.

I suppose if I was pushed, I could say I don't 'mind' the front cover and some of the pictures, and the chornology was useful pre-internet, but my advice is to avoid this book like a dose of piles. Some day, someone who really knows their PiL will have to write a proper book, but it won't be Clinton Heylin; know what I mean…


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