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El Sid: Saint Vicious Hardcover – July 1, 1997
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Veteran rock scribe Dalton bestows on the late Sid Vicious (neJohn Ritchie) the aroma of legendhood as the quintessential member of the ultimate punk band, the Sex Pistols. Dalton casts the band's creator, impresario Malcolm McLaren, as villain of the piece while, amid many prodigious pronouncements and atmospheric observations, he considers whether Ritchie was really the schlemiel his bandmate Johnny Rotten (neJohn Lydon), who had had him added to the band, and others claimed. Conclusion: probably. Dalton suggests that McLaren was to blame, for "Sid Vicious" was basically a two-dimensional rock persona that McLaren created. If John Ritchie hadn't come along, some other Pistol would have been cast in the role. Dirty words abound in Dalton's treatment, but like Sid himself, they're ineffectual, just for effect, and nothing to deter the mawkish curiosity sure to draw many readers to this illuminating look at punk rock's crassest commercial manifestation. Mike Tribby
From Kirkus Reviews
Wildly uneven but ultimately compelling, Dalton's chronicle of Sid Vicious's (n John Simon Ritchie) years as the bassist in the Sex Pistols covers little new factual ground but offers a fresh angle on a widely misunderstood young man. Dalton's interest is in more than just telling of Sid's decline and fall. Instead, he places punk in its cultural and historical context, with the sun slowly setting on England's empire, widespread unemployment, and aimless youth like Sid wandering London's King's Road. Enter entrepreneur and lounge lizard Malcolm McClaren, who opens a boutique called Sex to cater to the jaded youths and then forms the Sex Pistols to promote his wares. Using the cerebral, charismatic, homeless Johnny Rotten (n Lydon) as the centerpiece of his band, McClaren finds Lydon bringing his friend Sid along for the ride. The thought-driven Rotten and action-oriented Vicious give a jump-start to punk music, and the rest, as they say, is history. While Dalton (who has written biographies of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and other pop cult figures) does a fine job of showing how the disparate personalities of McClaren, Lydon, and Sid played off one another, with Lydon being too smart to fall into the trap that killed Sid, the author relies throughout the book on the strange technique of presenting the bassist in, presumably, his own words in boxed quotes randomly placed throughout the text. And while Dalton tries all along to approximate the Cockney slang he supposes Sid must have spoken, a prison letter from Sid included in the book belies his conceit and his underestimation of Sid's intelligence. Still, Sid's presence in the book is ultimately what tells the story of the Sex Pistols. Let the reader be forewarned, El Sid is often obscene, violent, and disturbing, but then, so was the life of its protagonist; at least the typical glamorization of Sid Vicious is avoided. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Published in 1998, long after many much more informative, significant books on the subject had already been printed and read. This is a sarcastic, snide look back to events that occurred during the short lived career of The Sex Pistols. It contains some well known information about the post-Sex Pistols Sid.
It repeats the headlines, the happenings, the very end. The only difference in this book, is the writer's sense of comedy.
There is no compassion at all to be found within these pages. It is a smirking, proud effort of humor on what was an obvious tragedy.
Sid Vicious was a heroin addict who was disoriented and often semi-comatose.
The mystery of his girlfriend Nancy's murder has never been solved. Initially he said he did kill her, but was apparently stoned during the time of this statement. The question of whether or not he was involved in the death has been buried with Nancy Spungeon and Sid's own cremation.
Ten years ago this book was horrid and it hasn't changed.
Is the photo on the cover Sid? Don't think so. (Is everything else in the book as fake and superficial as the cover? Absolutely DO think so!)
Are the boxed and bolded quotes--distractingly placed throughout the chapters-- Sid's words? No, they are Dalton's ridiculous gimmick of "channeling" Sid's commentary as a supposed unifying feature of the narrative. (Nothing is more irritating than reading an attempt to phonetically reproduce a dialect; plus, examples of Sid's actual recorded voice and words don't reflect the cornball Cockney stupidity that Dalton tries to purvey.)
For me, the only remotely useful feature in "El Sid" was the limited bibliography of other works on Sid and Punk. But even here, in a review of a book which labelled Sid "stupid" and "cheesy", Dalton sniffs, "If you don't get Sid, you don't get Punk!" I don't profess to know a lot about Sid or Punk, but I know Dalton couldn't possibly 'get' either.
If you just have to have all currently available works on Sid, go ahead and buy a (used) version of this book. Otherwise -- pass.
the jerk that wrote this book. I take no exception
to anything written; I take execption to the fact that EVERTHING in this book was ripped off of previously published books,(Ie; No Irish,No Blacks,No Dogs, Enland is Dreaming & 12 Days on the Road), strung together with a few outlandish metaphores and similes, then passed off as his own work. It isn't. There is nothing new in this book; no new pictures, no new facts, nada. David Whatever is a fraud just out to make a few $$$. The really insulting part is that he didn't even had the decency to acknowledge the theft with a refence table or a single footnote. Save your money.