25 Years on!
John Simon Ritchie was born on May 10,1957. As the next
22 years unfolded he would become one of modem pop's
definitive stars, a style icon and the muse for an entire
He would also become a lost, lonely fuck-up who died after
a few years of self-harm, bad drugs and an overwhelming
sense of alienation, left to rot in the relentless, unpitying
squalor of punk's dark underbelly. His was the incredible
story of an art-school drop-out who came to play bass in
his favourite band (without actually being able to play). The
punk poster boy who joined ex-groupie Nancy Spungen to
become punk's first celebratory couple. The British star
who lost the plot in New York and may or may not have killed his girlfriend before dying himself.
So if it all ended so messily, how come Sid Vicious is a hero? Why, 25 years after his death, is an obnoxious
alleged murderer who barely knew which way up to hold his bass guitar still relevant? Ironically, this
anti-establishment hero means so much because he paraded so effortlessly the qualities your average Pop Idol
judge is looking for: attitude, charisma, that 'X' factor absent in so many false gods of the music scene.
Sid meant it. He meant every single word, every sneer, every gob of spit, every flicked V. He meant everything,
even when he didn't have a clue what was going on. He was impossibly cute, the absolute swaggering
embodiment of a youth movement which invigorated a generation like no musical phenomenon has done since;
and he was fatally flawed. Because behind the mask there was a real person - the gentle, funny boy who loved
his mother and felt confused by the world. As the 1970's drew to a close, the echo of John Ritchie's former self
was drowned out by the sound of a quintessential rock persona exploding in the sky, above the heads of every
other punk star of the time and beyond the comprehension of the thousands of wannabe punks who've missed
the point in the last 25 years. Violent, self-mutilating, repugnant, anti-social, heroin-addicted, deeply untalented
and all too willing to believe his own hype, Sid Vicious could very easily be rock's worst role model. But with John
Lydon lined up for I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! and the memory of punk rock continuing to be
repackaged, digitised and polished up. Sid remains punk's most flawless star.