Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's Juicy Internet Read...

It's a dreary October day here in Chicago...the sky is dark gray, the red and gold leaves are starting to blow off the black tree branches, it's starting to get too chilly to comfortably walk the dogs...

In short, it would be a perfect day to stay at home and curl up under the covers with a good book. Except it's Monday, and I'm stuck in the office under soul-destroying fluorescent lights. Still, I take to the internet when I can to find a good afternoon read.

Today's Juicy Internet Read is Karen Schoemer's revised look at Nancy Spungen, who was best known for probably being stabbed to death by junkie boyfriend and Sex Pistol Sid Vicious (who OD'ed himself four months later). The tale of Sid and Nancy is one of those stories of drug-induced mutual destruction that is often mistaken for a sort of passionate rebellion fuelled by amour fou.

Still, youthful mutual destruction makes for a pretty good read, so I do recommend this article, which poses the question of whether Nancy Spungen was unfairly dismissed and vilified as a mere groupie, the cause of the Sex Pistols' and Sid's destruction. It's hard not to think of Courtney Love, who is often accused outright of murdering Kurt Cobain--such is the lack of lost love between her and Nirvana fans. It's also interesting that Courtney Love and Nancy Spungen share a remarkable physical resemblance.



Perhaps I just am not inherently very punk, or maybe it's because I was a mere babe in the '70s and am in the prime of my life in the Golden Age of Snark, but I typically have a hard time taking punk icons very seriously. Especially now, when they're in their 50s and 60s, sitting around in their black leather jackets, pining for the good ol' days of rampant urban squalor.

And there was a certain element of hypocrisy to the punk movement even in its prime, as Nancy Spungen realized: "But Nancy was too extreme even for a movement centered on extremeness, and she never gained the acceptance she craved; she was an outcast among outcasts, nicknamed 'Nauseating Nancy' behind her back. 'It was jealousy,' says Roberta Bayley, who worked the door at CBGB. 'There’s no more competitive thing than who can fuck these musicians. Maybe Pamela Des Barres tells the story of female solidarity, but there was a lot of backstabbing.' According to Polk, 'The other girls shunned her and were mean to her. And that made Nancy worse. She became vengeful. She kind of reacted to them putting her down by doing even worse things. The only people who didn’t shun her were the guys that were getting drugs from her.'"

And so this article attempts to remind punk fans of the vulnerable humanity behind the wasted life. The way that she "could be very, very nice," according to Legs McNeil. The way that she demonstrated her musical knowledge and committment to the genre in a live interview. The way she embodied the spirit of punk with her obnoxiousness, her aggressiveness, and her delight in pissing people off.

I don't feel that anyone need be overly sentimental on Nancy's behalf. Her addiction, her murder--all of these things are to be pitied or mourned, perhaps, but not romanticized. There was a certain alluring chaotic energy to be found in her relationship with Sid Vicious, but it can't be called love...or at least not some pure love that anyone should aspire to. (Amy Winehouse, please take note).

For more Sid 'n Nancy fun, check out their appearance on this interview, where they field live questions from callers. I think this is the clip Karen Schoemer is referring to in her article:

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

boring & stupid. I know, let's rehash Elvis' life one more time.

bryan said...

I always enjoy the colorful anecdotes of Legs McNeil. She, along with Cooter O'Houlihan and Tits McGee, have the best recollections of the late 70's punk groupie experience.

maise said...

LOL, Bryan you are a fucktard.

Iris said...

Is Cooter O'Houlihan any relation to Hot Lixx?

D:ANGEL said...

2nd cousins.

Well punk is (or was) a movement or youth, rebellion, "the moment" etc. So when old guys try to hang on to that it just doesn't work. Punk is dead. 70s-80s punk anyway. But I guess that sad ending thing you see in Darby Crash or Sid and Nancy still happens, look at Matty Luv...

D:ANGEL said...

movement OF youth.

You really need to get an edit function in here.

maise said...

Okay, so here's my question of the day: The husband and I need new cell phones, and we need to get the hell away from Sprint. I want a fancy phone! What do you recommend? (And I think I know Bryan's answer already, but I just want to get a range of opinions...)

bryan said...

Quite honestly, I wouldn't be as big of a default iPhone pusher as you'd expect, if only because the hiccups with the 2.0 software have been kinda fucking annoying.

In talking strictly the device itself, start with what you want to be able to do with the phone, and go from there (i.e., just phoneage? Phone and email? Is music/media more your thing, etc?). Definitely try the various different ones out (you have the iPod Touch so you know pretty much what the iPhone experience will be like).

The G1 Android is getting all the geeknerds hot and bothered, but some aren't digging the slide out keyboard, and its a brand new OS put together by Google, so there could be growing pains/bumps in the road similar to what the iPhone has experienced. Then there's all of the HTC line of products as well, but a lot of them are running Windows Mobile which in my experience is a bit of a clusterfuck.

Some of the Verizon smart phones look good on paper, but from messing with them in person they seem pretty clunky -- the custom OS's are shitty and confusing, and the quality is on the "cheap plastic" side.

If you want a phone and email device only, check out the Blackberry line. They're the de facto business standard for a reason. But if you want more of a comprehensive media/web/email experience, do check out out the iPhone; there's lots of cool stuff to be had on the app store if you go that way (the Android also has its own app store on the horizon, and there are Blackberry 3rd party apps, but its not nearly the same kind of thing you see from the iPhone or will see from Android).

The second component is, of course, cell reception in your area. Ask around, see what carriers people like the most, etc. I tend to be of the opinion that Verizon is the best carrier reception-wise in the U.S., but their customer service and way they do business had me wanting to leave them even before the iPhone came out.

bryan said...

btw, I stand corrected on the 3rd Party Blackberry app front -- it looks like RIM is following Apple and Google's lead and readying an app store of their own after all.

JR said...

When it comes to cell phones, I rock this sweet thing.

When it comes to crazy coworkers, I have the craziest one of all.

When it comes to an editing function, you don't need one IN HERE, you need one UP IN HERE.

Azulaco said...

I meant to comment on this earlier this week...it's funny that you would post about Sid and Nancy, because I just blogged about how the movie Sid and Nancy altered my sheltered consciousness when I was sixteen. Okay, they're a cliche, but compelling reading. Nancy's mother also wrote a biography about her which was interesting to read, in a "how did she get to be that way?" sense. I'm always interested in the backstory on people like that.

Maise, it's also opportune that you posted the question about the new phone, because I am in the exact same position - want/need to upgrade to more of a data device, need to get away from Sprint. Are you reading my mind?