John Lydon: Olympics wanted to censor the Sex Pistols

Singer claims band snubbed London 2012 closing ceremony because organisers were 'killing the honesty' of the Pistols

The Olympics organisers wanted to censor the Sex Pistols, John Lydon has claimed in explanation of the band's decision to snub the closing ceremony on 12 August.

"Censorship mattered more than the content of the Pistols," Lydon told Billboard. "If you're going to be celebrating what is great about Britain, the honesty of the Sex Pistols is one of those things. If you censor the words of any one song, you're killing the honesty and I couldn't tolerate that. We didn't want nothing to do with them."

According to an earlier article in NME, the London organising comittee wanted the Pistols to perform Pretty Vacant alongside "Naomi Campbell in a Vivienne Westwood dress" and "Madness doing Baggy Trousers". Organisers were apparently specific about the pronunciation of the word "vacant". "Just 'pretty' and the word 'censored,'" Lydon told NME.

"I think the world has become more conservative now than it was back [in the 70s]," he told Billboard. "All the things we fought so hard against are slowly creeping back in. If you're going to put a negative on a word, then you're denying the human race the very thing we're most proud of. Our greatest sense of achievement as a species is our language."

Lydon is preparing for the release of This Is Pil, Public Image Ltd's first new album in 20 years, which is due on 28 May.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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