Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sid out to lunch

Sid out to lunch
Originally uploaded by Elvira Black.
In part because I'm in a lazy mood; in part because this is a good pretext to show one of BG's latest paintings; and in part because Wikipedia says it all (well, not really; the Sid link that follows has a very detailed, juicy account of Sid and his crimes and misdemeanors as well, with more links to come), here are some excerpts from their entry on Sid Vicious:

John Simon Ritchie-Beverly (May 10, 1957, London - February 2, 1979, New York), better known as Sid Vicious, was an English punk rock musician and member of the band the Sex Pistols. He died from a drug overdose at the age of 21.

Described by peers as 'slender and likable', Richie's stage name of Sid Vicious was allegedly derived from Lydon's pet hamster (Sid the Vicious, for his habit of biting people) as an ironic joke. However the implications of this nom de plume would turn deadly as he tried to live up to the media myths that grew up around him. Indeed, as far back as 1974 he had begun using drugs intravenously in the company of his mother as a darker side to his character emerged, and by 1975 he had begun to self harm.Accounts of his life have related that he strangled a cat and assaulted a pensioner around this time.

Described as being "the ultimate Sex Pistols fan", Vicious joined the group after the departure of bass player Glen Matlock in February 1977. Legend has it that manager Malcolm McLaren wanted Vicious in the band because of his looks and punk attitude. It was said "If Rotten is the voice of punk, then Vicious is the look." This "punk persona" counted far more than any actual playing ability. In fact Vicious was notoriously inept musically, and according to Jon Savage's biography of the Sex Pistols, England's Dreaming, most of the bass parts on the band's later recordings were actually played by guitarist Steve Jones, and at live performances his amplifier was often switched off.

In November 1977 Vicious met and soon after began a relationship with American Nancy Laura Spungen, who had come to London looking for Jerry Nolan of The Heartbreakers, but ended up with Vicious. Spungen was a heroin addict, and inevitably Vicious, who was already believing in his own "live fast, die young" mythology, came to share this dependence. Although deeply in love with each other, their often violent relationship had a disastrous effect on the Sex Pistols, with both the group and Vicious visibly deteriorating throughout the course of their 1978 American tour. Things finally came to a head at their concert at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco on January 14, when Rotten walked out of the band. Vicious also left shortly afterwards, and with Spungen acting as his 'manager', embarked upon a short and ignoble "solo career". Some of the musicians he performed with included Mick Jones of the Clash, Tony Blackplait, and members of the New York Dolls.

By this time Vicious and Spungen had become locked in their own world of drug addiction and self-destruction. Interview footage shows the couple attempting to answer questions from their bed: Spungen is barely coherent whilst Vicious lapses in and out of consciousness. Vicious also came very close to death following a heroin overdose and was hospitalised for a time.

On the morning of October 12, 1978 Vicious allegedly awoke from a drug-induced stupour to find Spungen dead on the bathroom floor of room 100 in the Hotel Chelsea in New York. She had received a single stab wound to her abdomen and apparently bled to death. Vicious was arrested and charged with her murder although he said he had no memory of having done so. However, he later claimed to have "killed her because I'm a dirty dog." There are also unsubstantiated theories the murder was committed by a third party, usually said to be one of the many drug dealers who frequented the apartment.

Bail of $50,000 was put up by Virgin Records at the request of Malcolm McLaren, and in February 1979, a party was held at the home of his new girlfriend Michelle Robinson to celebrate his release. During his time at Rikers Island prison, Vicious had undergone drug rehabilitation therapy and was supposedly "clean". However, at the party, he was able to obtain some heroin (supplied by his mother, Ann Beverley, herself an ex-addict) and was discovered dead the following morning, having taken a large overdose. Speculation has persisted that Vicious, unable to live without his beloved Nancy, took his own life. He wrote the following poem about her:

You were my little baby girl,
I knew all your fears.
Such joy to hold you in my arms
and kiss away your tears.
But now you're gone, there's only pain
and nothing I can do.
And I don't want to live this life,
If I can't live for you.


At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post... thanks.

my site: gifted and talented child

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Henry said...

Did you stop sending out blog alerts to people?


No matter, but it does look like you have a few psuedo-comments.

"Your blog good. Please visit my blog because it's the most important one in the blogsphere. I just had this post about brushing my teeth, and it is really one of the best posts available to everyone on the internet...." LOL

Yep, that Sid was one twisted guy. I'd never heard about strangling the cat before. In younger people, aberrant behavior, e.g. harming animals, can be considered an indication of Antisocial Personality Disorder. And, then there's the murder of Nancy... hmm.

Now, I'm not saying anyone deserves to be murdered (except terrorists), but Nancy was one really messed up chick. She makes Courtney Love look like a Catholic school girl. The doctors had her on Phenobarbital starting at age two. She was a truly disturbed child. Her mother wrote a book about Nancy's childhood called, And, I don't Want To Live This Life. It's a must read for any Sid fan.

BG's painting has confused me. At first glance, I kind of thought that it wasn't up to his usual awesome productions. Then I felt as if I could not really see the face, so I got the enlarged version and filled my entire monitor with just Sid's spikey-haired head. I just soaked it in for a while; I had to call the wife in for a looksie. She and I both wound up really looking at it for a while. We were standing back and looking from different angles. We finally had to leave for some errands, but I will be looking again. However, I should say that it is NOT below the norm for BG, but quite the opposite. It's the best I've seen yet. Keep 'em coming, guy!

At 10:10 AM, Blogger !ce said...

This pains me to say, but he might have had antisocial tendencies.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Walker said...

Some people fall into the persona that they create. It's sd that so many briliant minds are lost to the image they create.
It makes me wonder who killed them. The drugs, or the fans that worship their creation spurring them on to do more and more.
I have witness to much death first hand because of what people believe what others expect of them.
Then there is the demons that they have to cope with that the drugs bring out of the subconcious, to haught them.
At some point reality MUST settle in or they will disappear like Sid , Kurt, Jimi and so many more.
I am happy I don't have a mother like that.
Great Post!
Have a nice weekend.

At 5:02 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, I have deleted the first post, which was COMMENT SPAM, pure and simple--boo! The second one I debated over deleting, but decided to keep it since her site looked like it might be helpful or useful. Although I do not delete posts as a rule, comment spam and freeloading non-comments will be rousted.

Thanks for the feedback on the painting. I was having trouble getting the reproduction to come through--it was a little faded out. The thing I really like about this one are the little details, like the sugar dispenser, stack of dishes behind the counter, shadows on the counter made by all the little condiments, etc. BG is able to do more than just pure portraiture, which is cool.

Yes, that book on Nancy is a fascinating, can't put it down read. A few other great Sid and Sex Pistols related phenom I've seen include the movie Sid and Nancy, with Gary Oldman doing a masterful Sid (great soundtrack too) and the Filth and the Fury, an incredibly witty and innovative documentary about the Pistols. Truly a must see.

Ice: antisocial tendencies? Yes, that's putting it mildly. But in the context of the times, he was the quintessential face of punk. The seventies in England were very dire for many disaffected youth who saw themselves with no future because of the economy and the society. Their solution was to flaunt convention and attack exalted icons, like the royal family. They tried to shock in any way they could, and it worked.

Walker: yes, it's sad when gifted celebs (and anyone else, for that matter) descend into the abyss. However, in all good conscience, I cannot lump Sid into the category of "brilliant minds" (LOL). Sid could not even play his instrument, and wasn't much of a singer either (as a solo "artist".) Malcolm McLaren basically saw his persona as ideal for the band he was trying to mastermind. Most feel that Nancy had a lot to do with his downfall, but at least they had each other for awhile.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger !ce said...

What do you expect of me? Do you know how painful it is to agree with Henry nowadays? Not pleasant.
If Sid did strangle a cat, he should have been killed or severely punished right then. Anyone who would intentionally kill an animal should be, at the very least, imprisoned for the maximum term for a manslaughter charge.

At 2:33 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Firstly, let me say that I detest and despise anyone who would kill or torture an animal--no question. However, I do not know if this story was legend or fact. Wikipedia says that accounts of his life mention this, which doesn't sound definitive--i.e. did someone, with a name to reference, witness this? Also Wikipedia is not the "bible" of reference works--it consists of reader's contributions, so there is always that caveat.

When Sid V. did a solo version of Frank Sinatra's "my way," he alters a line to read "I killed a cat, not in a shy way." I don't know if he really did, or if it was all just mythology to perpectuate his "vicious" myth.

But yes, if he did so, than it makes him very very uncool. When I read this, I was disturbed by it as well. I just don't know if it's true or not. If it is, it's reprehensible.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Henry said...

Why is it painful to agree with the truth? Ahh, I see; it's not the message, it's the messenger.

Sometimes in life, we have to hear the truth no matter the messenger.

I'll tell you Ice, sometimes it pains me to listen to the nonsense that comes from "Liberals" as well as the garbage from "Conservatives", but I always derive pleasure from the truth.

At 1:51 AM, Blogger rob said...

I don't much care for "celebrity" crop or for the pistols, but sex is great. The best of this post for me is the excuse for exhibiting BG's great talent. The spiky hair, the look in his eyes and the great details make him come to life. This is what your love for art is all about. You may find that Lila's gifted and talented child blog is helpful, I think that it looks like a trap to get you to struggle through all that advertising, I'd never seen a blog with so much of it. As to ripping off wilkipedia and sticking it up your blog ... well, I'll leave it at that.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger !ce said...

Perhaps if the messenger weren't constantly insulting me, then agreeing wouldn't be so painful.

At 12:06 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks for the comps on BG's painting. As for Lila, that's not a blog--it's a website, and although some of the links didn't work, she's probably trying to sell something, so I don't get a kosher feeling about it.

As far as ripping off Wikipedia--I don't think I was doing that. Firstly, I gave credit for the source. Secondly, as I explained, I wanted some context for the Sid picture. Although I don't do this as a rule, in this case, it seemed appropriate to provide some background info, albeit prefab, about the subject of the painting. Plus, it should be noted that as far as I know there is no "author" of Wiki to rip off. It is a compendium of entries from readers. You or I or my cat could contribute or add to an article. Just wanted to clarify that.

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the poor cat. Glen Matlocks friend and ex flatmate is interviewed in the movie 'Who Killed Nancy' as he was there on the fateful night and says it has haunted him since although why he did nothing at the time is beyond me... I would have punched the cruel, twisted bastard in the head to stop him getting anywhere near killing the poor creature.

"One night I went round and saw Sid, and there was a cat that was in the flat. And for no reason he decided to put a noose around the cat and hang it up in front of me... didn't last long as far as ticks on the clock but it seemed like an eternity. The cat was struggling and was trying to get away but obviously it couldn't. It was whining. It was absolutely fighting to get away and just before it passed away, it urinated and defacated right on his feet. Sid was holding it in front of me. I utterly regret not stopping him doing that. Why he did that, I don't know. I have no idea, it's the most disgusting thing that I have seen in my life. If I could have my life over again, I would've stopped him from doing it. It was horrible...

...we finally put the cat in a plastic bag and took it to the bin downstairs."

My ex boyfriend hero worshiped Sid and I could never work out why... He had no musical ability, couldn't sing, killed animals and bragged about it in his shitty cover version, attacked an elderly lady, murdered his girlfriend clearly showing psychopathic tendencies, was a smack-head, spat and threw blood at his audience despite being an IV drug user and possibly having any number of blood borne diseases.... So his 'look' epitomised punk- hardly a hero makes does it? I thought he was a prized cunt!


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