With his next band, Public Image Ltd (PiL) Lydon expressed an equally urgent impulse in his make-up – the constant need to reinvent himself, to keep moving. From their beginnings in 1978 he set the groundbreaking template for a band that continues to challenge and thrive in the 2010s. He also found time for making innovative new dance records with the likes of Afrika Baambaata and Leftfield.
Following the release of a solo record in 1997, John took a sabbatical from his music career into other media, most memorably his own Rotten TV show for VH1 and as the most outrageous contestant ever on I’m a Celebrity…. Get Me Out of Here! He then fronted the Megabugs series and one-off nature documentaries and even turned his hand to a series of much loved TV advertisements for Country Life butter.
Lydon has remained a compelling and dynamic figure – both as a musician, and, thanks to his outspoken, controversial, yet always heartfelt and honest statements, as a cultural commentator.
The book a fresh and mature look back on a life full of incident from his beginnings as a sickly child of immigrant Irish parents who grew up in post-war London, to his present status as a vibrant, alternative national hero.
His recollection of his childhood is compelling, as he shares the adversity and dire circumstances that often breeds genius and fuels radical thinking. The book is politically charged, written by a man who is not afraid to state his opinions and stick to them regardless of criticism.
Having said that, John Lydon comes across as very self-congratulatory and egotistical, painting everyone around him as problematic, it would be interesting to read the other sides of these stories.
Many chapters are promising, sweet and even humorous, however, they need structure and condensing. This piece of work is largely incoherent, contradictory and rife with errors in construction and spelling. If this book is well-edited, structured and polished, it would be easier to comprehend.
Although highly flawed, I feel Anger Is an Energy showcases a distinctly eventful life that has all the potential to make a good read.
Honest review written for Buzz Magazine.