Thursday, August 11, 2011

Never Mind the Dovecotes: Anarchy in the NT

John Lydon never seems to be the most cheerful of chaps, but he's definitely not happy about the National Trust ripping him off by using two of the Sex Pistols songs without permission. Yes, that's right – the National Trust, that bastion of rebellion and shady deals – have released Never Mind the Dovecotes, a CD of 18 punk classics including songs by bands including The Jam, The Fall (who are actually post punk), X-Ray Specs and the Sex Pistols in a piece of marketing as crass and inappropriate as John Lydon himself selling butter or Iggy Pop car insurance. The two Sex Pistols songs on the album, Anarchy in the UK and Pretty Vacant, have apparently been used without his consent (though the versions used are demos, not the album versions, so he may not actually own them). Still, it seems Jolly Rotten of them, turning rebellion into money.

And while it is apparently a fact that half a million of the Trust's members were aged between 16-25 in 1977, the heyday of punk, I can also virtually guarantee that 99.9% of them disapproved of and never listened to the Sex Pistols at the time. Nor have warmed to them over the years, nor heard of any of the other bands on the CD.

Lydon, who did a radio spot for the National Trust in 1993 and advertised Country Life butter wearing a Tweed suit in 2008, is now a very different kind of icon to his Sex Pistols days, when he was called 'the biggest threat to our youth since Hitler'.

If it makes John feel any better, I've been using an out of date National Trust membership card for the last two years.

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