Saturday, June 09, 2007


Recently my attention was taken by the fact that Steve Jones, the guitarist of the Sex Pistols, is living in California and conducting a daily radio program called "Jonesy's Jukebox Jury" for an independent station in Los Angeles. Now not many people in 1977 would have guessed that the guy who called Bill Grundy "a rotter" on air would be passing the time in such a tranquil way 30 years later. Jones originally started a band on the suggestion of designer Malcolm McLaren who was determined to find a way to stop kleptomaniac Jones from hanging around his clothes shop "SEX" and stealing things. Long time friend Paul Cook came in on drums and John Lydon (aka Rotten) was added as singer due to his intelligence and "f..k you" attitude. Glen Matlock who worked in McLaren's shop, came in on bass. After a while, however, it was discovered that Matlock and Rotten hated each other--and Matlock was the one to leave. Subsequently, Rotten brought his own friend, Sid Vicious, into the band on bass (even though he couldn't play a note!) Matlock came up with lots of musical ideas before leaving--but it was always Jones's guitar that defined the Sex Pistols musically. His sense of rhythm was as good as a metronome and his ominous chords were made to sound like an attacking panzer division. On top of this were superimposed Rotten's uniquely original lyrics and something very rare was born: a genuinely new sound.

Of course it didn't and couldn't have lasted long. All the band were in it for different reasons and their musical maturity was way ahead of their maturity as people. On an incident plagued tour of the U.S. during which the Pistols were spit on and violently assaulted, the whole thing fell apart with Rotten refusing to continue the tour and the other members of the group flying off to Brasil with McLaren to meet great train robber Ronnie Biggs with the intention of recording something together. Rotten had no money and had to phone Virgin boss, Richard Branson, in order to get a ticket home.

Did it all have to end in such an ugly way? Probably due to the unresolved antagonisms in the group. However, the one album that the Pistols recorded ("Never Mind the Bollocks") is now acknowledged as a classic and "Anarchy in the UK", "God Save the Queen" and "Pretty Vacant" remain 3 of the finest anti-establishment anthems ever written: something that one would never guess today listening to Steve Jones's hesitant and humble presentation on his new American radio program.


Recently I watched YOLT on video after neglecting it for several years. I never had much time and told myself that I'd just watch the first few minutes before leaving it for a more propitious time. In fact 30 minutes flashed by in a trice and I was still glued to the screen. I revised my first decision. Now I would wait until the first hiatus in the action came around; an hour later I was still watching and resigned myself to play it through until the end. Literally, there is no hiatus in the action. This movie is tightly scripted with exotic Japanese locations and is surely the best Bond movie ever. It was also the first in the series to significantly differ from the Fleming novel, but thanks to Roald Dahl's fine screen play that hardly made a difference.

In my opinion, the first 5 Bond films were the best. These were made before the days of political correctness which spoiled the Dalton/Brosnan movies. Bond is a sexual predator and Connery was the only Bond who appeared to happily embrace this fact. Brosnan and Dalton were both pretty boys who one could easily imagine washing the dishes at home. Quite simply, they couldn't compete with Glaswegian Connery's tough charm. Roger Moore was an OK fill in after Connery had decided to move on. Of course, he was clearly too old for the part even from the beginning, but he kept the role ticking over. George Lazenby was an unexpressive block of wood and new Bond, Daniel Craig, seems to have been carved from the same tree.

I would like to finish this entry by listing my favourite Bond movies. It should come as no surprise that the top 5 are all Connery movies. Sean Connery created Bond for most of us and those early movies were in general less fantastic and more centred on plot than the later films.

Top 5:

1. YOLT...absolutely perfect

2. Golfinger...another classic

3. Thunderball...Bond in the Caribbean

4. From Russia With Love...intrigue in Istanbul

5. Dr. No...with Ursula Andress rising from the waves like some goddess of the sea