John Lydon:
Rotten TV - Episode 2


review by Scott M, July 2000 (First published F&F 13)
© 2000 / F&F Publishing

Steve Jones & John Lydon at Sundance 2000 to promote 'The Filth and the Fury' © unknownIt's looking like RTV will be a very occasional show. In the space of six months we've only had two episodes. I reckon it'll take about two years to get through the whole seven!! I know John's not one for rushing things (!), and he only wants to do a show when he has something interesting planned, but as I said last time, it's going to be hard for the show to pick up momentum if they aren't broadcast regularly. Unlike Episode One which was very much a mish-mash of different ideas, Episode Two centres on John's trip to the Sundance Festival in January to promote The Filth and the Fury. In Episode One John linked the show together on a Battlefield, in this show it's even more bizarre! It's basically a head shot of John holding a Lemon and an Orange on metal spikes, a sort of bizarre twist on the famous Charlie Chaplin routine – very strange! Also worth mentioning, like the first show, there is a great selection PiL/Lydon music featured (including; 'Annalisa', 'Socialist', 'This is Not a Love Song', 'Public Image','Dog'), but there are also remixes of 'Psycho's Path' material I've never heard before, and even some of instrumental tracks I don't recognise at all...

The first part of the show centres on the promotional work, Steve, John & Julien did at Sundance. There's footage of interviews, footage from the premiere screening, clips of the film etc. Some of it is very good, loads of stuff you wont have saw on the TV snippets. You can tell they're getting more and more bored as the day goes on. At the premiere Steve totally cracks the audience up when he says, "I'm bored with all this bollocks", but he's deadly serious, you can tell by the look on his face. You get to see John's whole range of interview styles, funny, appreciative, rude, baffling, obnoxious, show-off. He's got it down to a fine art, no one knows which one they're going to get. However, as always Steve steals the show. One of the funniest clips has to be when, after revealing he's not wearing any underpants, he grabs his balls then quite politely shakes the hand of one of the media liggers! There's also some great footage of John being refused entry into a party for the film, and the manager threatening to phone the police if he doesn't leave! There's even footage of John and Nora dancing at some nightclub thrown in there!

Part 2 is when the real media circus begins. John turns from interviewee to interviewer. There's footage of him racing round Sundance interviewing (or at least trying to) the likes of James Woods, Neve Campbell, Heather Graham, Cindy Lauper, Christopher Walken, Dean Cain (Superman), The Coen Brothers (John's a fan). A lot of them honestly have no idea who he is, I think Christopher Walken reckons he's an escaped nutter, and blanks him accordingly! Upcoming starlet Casey Affleck looks thoroughly unimpressed and doesn't believe half of what JL says, even when he is telling the truth! James Woods and Lydon get on like a house on fire, he seems a cool guy, and it turns out he's a Pistols fan. There's lots of other footage from the event all spliced together very quickly, with the occasional editorial from John, but it takes a couple of viewings to take it all in.

Part 3 is probably the best segment of the lot. A hilarious one-on-one interview with John and Danny De Vito. They obviously know each other because of De Vito's involvement with The Filth and the Fury, and a lot of it is definitely tongue in cheek, but it's a great sparring match with them both trying to catch each other out and take the piss. De Vito: "I was a Pistols fan from afar", Lydon: "Forgive me, I laugh at that 'cos I can't take compliments. De Vito: "Well, I didn't say I was a fan of yours". I think John may actually have met his match. In fact, I reckon De Vito shades it! The show is different to the normal 'celebrity specials' you get on TV, but not radically different. I think I had kind of expected a 'Dennis Pennis' type show (Pennis really did base himself on John after all) but on the whole, John is pleasant enough to most of his interviewee's. You could download some unused footage via the web site but I still reckon there is no way 30 minutes is long enough for the show. All in all, this episode is very enjoyable, some of it is weird, some of it is embarrassing, and most of it is fucking hilarious. Very John Lydon!


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Steve Jones & John Lydon at Sundance 2000 to promote 'The Filth and the Fury' © unknown
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