Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sid & Nancy Live!

New York magazine has a great article this week about Nancy Spungen, she of Sid and Nancy fame. She died thirty years ago this month at the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd street, the victim of a heinous murder that, to this day, remains largely a mystery as to how and why it happened. She was only 20 years old.

Nancy was the princess of punk, the ultimate groupie, and one crazy chick. In death, she became elevated to the status of music icon even though she never played a note herself. Her relationship with Sex Pistols guitarist Sid Vicious (who couldn’t play either, but that’s a different story) has gone down in history as probably the most infamous relationship since Anthony and Cleopatra. Their sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll saga, short lived though it was, has left a permanent imprint on the psyche of rock music and America in general. They represented the end of an era, the coke-fueled, reckless train-wreck of the insanely selfish 1970s, Tom Wolfe’s Me Decade. Two years later Ronald Reagan would be elected president and a new conservatism would grip America. Sid and Nancy would have had no place in this world, a kind of collateral damage I suppose.

Sid was accused of Nancy’s murder, although whether it was intentional or the result of a drug binge remains unclear. Sid overdosed in jail four months later so Nancy’s murder has never been fully solved. In 1986, a movie about their crazy life together was came out called, simply enough, Sid and Nancy. Gary Oldman played Sid and the very under appreciated Chloe Webb was Nancy.

About a month before Nancy’s murder, they appeared on a local cable show in NYC (YouTube won't allow me to post it for some reason but this link should take you to it; the quality is grainy to say the least). This show is referenced in the article and it's a total riot.

Courtney Love modeled her whole life on Nancy Spungen’s. Let’s hope it has a happier ending. And let’s hope that, after thirty years, Sid and Nancy managed to find some peace in that big amplifier in the sky (preferably turned off, like the Six Pistols used to do to Sid during his awful playing).

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