The TV Interviews (Un)cencored screams the cover and yet the one we all want to see is conspicuous in its absence – or at least in full! There’s snippets of it here and there, hell it even plays in the background at one point during one of the reunion press conferences but the (in)famous Bill Grundy interview is noticeable in its absence.
Still with over two hours of talking heads, flashbacks, young punks, old punks, Mark P (sniffin’ glue zine) grumpy young and old Johnny, Malcolm in all his sartorial eloquence, a splash of Sid, Vivienne Westwood and more, I’m sure you’ll survive.
Considering that the ‘Pistols burnt out pretty damn quick and only ever had one actual album you are probably wondering how Director Mark Sloper ever found over two hours worth of interviews. Well, it’s simple really. This documentary starts in 1976 but continues right through to 2007 with the aforementioned Vivienne and Malcolm thrown in, a little sid and nancy drama, some PIL snippets and Johnny mouthing off in 2002 and 2007. There’s also a great little retrospective from 1996 about the band’s influential gigs at the Lesser Trade Hall in 1976 and the people that were in the audience including Peter Hook, Howard Devoto, Buzzcocks illuminati and more.
For an old fart like me it was interesting to see the transformation from the cheeky young Johnny Rotten to the bitter, cash hungry old Johnny Lydon. Sure he still had plenty to say and some of it was right on the money BUT…guitar hero???? Give me a fucking break! By the end of this he just comes across as a bad tempered old git, the sort that sits at the pub and says, “Back in my day…” Oh wait, that’s me. I guess old punks don’t die, they just go to the pub and become their dads.
Sloper has done a great job collecting this material, keeping it reasonably relevant and showing us the band in all their glory. The early footage particularly is a great slice of history, giving a taste of the background and events that helped forge that initial surge of music and fashion. More of that and less of the grumpy old fart would have been great but I guess back then there was only so many people who wanted to even admit that punk rock existed, let alone was going to change the scene.
Throw it on and reminisce about your youth then go down the pub and say something about the kids of today… I know I did.
Just one extra: Sid Vicious Documentary Preview
The Sex Pistols on TV is available on R1 DVD from MVD Visual.