Vivienne Westwood: “Once Sex Pistols folded, John Lydon didn’t have any more ideas”

The legend was speaking to NME about her starring role in the new documentary 'Wake Up Punk'

Vivienne Westwood has discussed how she thinks Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon was a “sensation”, but “didn’t have any more ideas” when the band split.

Westwood was speaking to NME around the release of Wake Up Punk, a new documentary directed by Nigel Askew and heavily featuring the punk legend.

Asked by NME about why she says in Wake Up Punk that Lydon has “lost his mojo in recent years,” Westwood responded: “I think John Lydon was a sensation. I think he was so convinced of himself and his ideals – and I believed in him. He latched onto the idea that the people who run the world and caused the Vietnam War were still the same people in charge – and that’s why we talked about anarchy.


“It became a whole thing about youth against age. The way that song ‘Anarchy In The UK’ begins, it’s absolutely bloodcurdling and I’ve never heard anything like it since.”

Asked what went wrong, Westwood continued: “Once the Sex Pistols folded, he didn’t have any more ideas. We had something to talk about and you don’t just get ideas, they don’t fall from Heaven.

“You have to read, you have to try and understand. You have to think for yourself. And you have to work it all out. You get out what you put in and that’s what people don’t understand today. They think they can just be a rebel. Well you can’t, you see, and that’s what went wrong I think.”

Vivienne Westwood

Directed by Nigel Askew, the Wake Up Punk documentary charts the decline of punk through interviews with the fashion designer and her two sons, Ben Westwood and Joe Corré.

A synopsis for Wake Up Punk reads: “With a fusion of documentary and magical realism, the film captures the intimate moments between Vivienne and her two sons Ben and Joe as they candidly discuss their own relationship with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and stories from the punk era.”


Sex Pistols are also the subject of another new show, the Danny Boyle-directed Pistol

Ahead of its release, Lydon has blasted the show as “middle-class fantasy” and hit out at his former bandmates, saying: “They can all fuck off.”

‘Wake Up Punk’ is available to stream online now

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