Wednesday, December 16, 2015

On Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored by John Lydon

I enjoyed P.I.L./Sex Pistols front man John Lydon's second memoir Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored, but boy, does he need an editor. There's this hilarious statement in the front of the book from the publisher that pretty much gave a warning that John refused to let us edit him, and yeah yeah yeah, we know sometimes it sounds janky but he refused to budge and so on. Sure, this book isn't going to win a Pulitzer, but it is definitely entertaining. I will say it sounds kind of weird when he talks about himself in the third person, like he's saying what other people saying about him "Johnny this, Johnny that" and it sounds a little bit like Bob Dole or Rickey Henderson. But anyway, in spite of the fact that he needed some more eyes on this, I still found it very interesting. Three particular quotes stand out:

page 213: "Education is not necessarily what the schools teach you. It's about acquiring the way of having an insight, and being able to gather information correctly."

Amen! It's about learning how to think. I'd add in learning how to think you're learning how to problem solve.

page 297: "I'm a nurse by nature, and I'm nursing you into the future."

Amen also! That's what really good artists do. And I suppose, good magazines, lit journals, blogs, anthologies, music sites or or any sort of THING that presents new things that we haven't encountered.

And finally, on page 427, he talks about the arguments he gets into with his wife, and this one struck me as preposterous, but I sort of loved it. He's referring to his relationship with her and how when you love someone but argue you can do it with love...or something.: "When you really love someone, you can practice hate in an enjoyable kind of a way!"

Is this what lots of celebrity memoirs sound like when they don't collab with a ghost writer? Occasional gems but mostly rambling? ...Because see how long it takes to get to the nub of the quotes I put above when they're put in the context of the actual full paragraphs they're from. They're entertaining but they read like a first draft:

page 213, the quote about education:

page 297, the quote about nursing into the future:

page 427, the quote about arguing with his wife:

OK, so maybe the quote about his wife actually makes more context of the full paragraph is sort of nice. 

But! He still needs an editor.

Or to do another draft.

A solid B effort with occasional polished gems of A moments.

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