Sid and Nancy
Hello freakies! Well, I've decided to take us down memory lane this evening. Let's remember back to the late 1970's. What? Some of you weren't with us in the 70's? Or maybe you are just too young to remember much about the 70's? Well, do I have a treat for the young and old alike! Let's take a moment to remember Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols and the love of Sid's short life, Nancy Spungen. Poor Sid and poor Nancy. Initially, I was going to write about Sid and Nancy separately, each having their own page but that's just not right. As everyone knows, when Sid met Nancy, that was it. They were together until the day Nancy died. It seems unbelieveable that they found true love in the world of punk rock in which they lived. But they did. Yes, this is a love story. Sid and Nancy were very much in love. In fact, Sid and Nancy were called the Romeo and Juliet of punk rock. They should have lived longer. Anyway, I'll commence with Sid and bring in Nancy and then end with them both together. They both have stories to tell us. So, here goes.
Ok, how many of you out there know about Sid Vicious? First things first here, in my research I found that by some accounts, Sid was really a nice person. He was kind, soft-spoken and even a bit shy (cough). Are we talking about the same Sid Vicious? I suppose the general run of population have probably heard of Sid Vicious but never, NEVER bothered to learn about him and his life. After taking just one look and seeing that he was in the British punk rock band, the Sex Pistols(!), well, after just one look, no one really bothered and no one really cared. Well I care about Sid Vicious.
Okay, I'll get serious, well, as serious as I can be. Sid Vicious, was born John Simon Ritchie on May 10, 1957. Sid Vicious died on February 2, 1979 making him about 21 years old when he died. Sid was an English punk rock musician who played at the bass guitar for the Sex Pistols. Sid Vicious was born in London to John and Anne Ritchie. Anne was a hippie and his father was a guard at Buckingham Palace. According to the band's photographer, Dennis Morris, Sid was "deep down, a shy person." However, Sid was known to get in fights and make threats. Sid was a poor fighter though. Bouncers and audiences assaulted Sid at times. Alas, Sid got the shit beat out of him quite regularly.
In an interesting side, Sid was given the nickname "Vicious" when a rat owned by a band member bit him. Sid made the comment that the rat was "vicious" and right there and then Sid was so christened Sid Viscious and the name followed him to the grave -er- what grave? More on this later.
Sid's musical experience at this point consisted of Sid and future Sex Pistols member, John Lydon, playing rough music on the street with Sid playing the tambourine. They would play Alice Cooper covers and people gave them money to be quiet.
Now long about February 1977, the Sex Pistols lost a band member and asked Sid to join the band as the bass player. It was common knowledge that Sid could not play the bass guitar but Sid was asked to join the band just because Sid was present at every gig. And too, Sid looked like punk, Sid was punk. Sid would paint his nails with purple nail polish and jump around and spit at the crowd, all while maintaining that Elvis sneer with small messages carved into his chest. Sid personified the "live fast, die young" image.
Sid was never recognized as a good bass player. Most times his playing would be so bad that the other band members would unplug Sid's bass during concerts. Apparently, Sid never mastered the bass and his bandmates maintain that his musical abilities (along with everything else) halted irrevocably when he met Nancy. In Sid's later concerts, it was obvious that Sid was no longer able to perform. His fingers had become sluggish and clumsy through intoxication and lack of interest.
Enter Nancy Spungen
Nancy Spungen was born screaming on February 27, 1958 to Frank and Deborah Spungen. The Spungens were a middle class Jewish family in the Huntingdon Valley area of Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her father was a businessman and her mother owned a local health food store called The Earth Shop in Jenkintown, PA. Nancy was born a month premature, and suffered from severe cyanosis. Look cyanosis up. Dear Nancy was a blue baby which means that her blood vessels were running short of oxygen hence the blue coloring of her extremities. Not a good thing. It is also said that Nancy screamed and screamed and screamed as a baby with nothing apparently wrong with her. Well, now that makes sense, if a baby is screaming, there's got to be something wrong with her!
As a child, Nancy was hyperactive and exhibited extremely violent behavior towards her younger sister Susan and her brother David. She is also alleged to have threatened to kill a babysitter and to have attacked her mother with a hammer during an argument. By age 11 she had been expelled from the public school system and was receiving psychotherapy. Nancy attempted suicide several times and suffered from Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. Her family sent her to various residential facilities for disturbed children. After graduating from Devereux Manor High School at age sixteen, she briefly attended the University of Colorado. In short, Nancy was the worst woman that Sid could have met.
Poor, poor little Nancy. If you could have asked Nancy what she wanted to be when she grew up, she most certainly would have said, "I want to be a dead, mentally ill, teenage girl!" because sadly that's what she became. But before she died, Nancy was a groupie, she wanted to nail a rock star!
Relationship with Sid Vicious
Nancy Spungen left home at age 17 and moved to New York City. She followed bands such as Aerosmith, The New York Dolls and The Ramones. She was also reportedly a good friend of Debbie Harry. Later she worked as a stripper in New York City, and as a prostitute, before moving to London looking for Jerry Nolan of The Heartbreakers, who wanted nothing to do with her. Instead Nancy met The Sex Pistols.
In November 1977, Sid met Nancy Spungen. They immediately began their rocky love affair. At this time, Nancy already was a heroin addict and Sid followed suit. There is some disagreement whether Sid was already into heroin before he met Nancy or is it true that she introduced him to it. Some sources claim that Sid had begun to use speed with his mother at an early age and then got into heroin when Nancy came around. I guess we'll never know for sure but it was the beginning of the end.
During a tumultuous 11-month relationship, Spungen and Vicious were addicted to heroin and a colorful rainbow of other drugs. Although Sid and Nancy were deeply in love, their often violent and rocky relationship had a disastrous effect on the Sex Pistols. Both the group and Sid himself visibly deteriorated during their 1978 American tour. The Sex Pistols broke up in San Francisco after their concert at the Winterland Ballroom on January 14, 1978.
At this point, the tabloids dubbed Spungen "Nauseating Nancy" for her frequent and public displays of drug-fueled verbal abuse and violence. After the Sex Pistols broke up in 1978, Sid and Nancy moved to the famous Hotel Chelsea in New York City. There, Vicious tried, with limited success, to continue his musical career. Now, with Nancy acting as his "manager," Sid embarked on a solo career during which he performed with many well known musicians and seemingly drew large crowds.
Over the next few months, Sid and Nancy spiraled into serious drug abuse, punctuated by reports of domestic violence. The end came on the morning of October 12, 1978 when Nancy was found dead on the bathroom floor of their room. Nancy was wearing a black bra and panties. She had suffered a single stab wound to her abdomen and apparently bled to death. Their bed was drenched with Nancy's blood. Sid claimed to have awoken from a drugged stupor to find Nancy dead on the bathroom floor. On November 22, 1978 he was arrested and charged with her murder. Sid claimed to have no memory of the event.
There are several theories that Nancy was murdered by someone else, particularly one of the 2 drug dealers who visited the room that night. It is also believed that there may have been a possible robbery as some items were missing which included a large amount of money. One of the 2 alleged drug dealers believes that the other dealer who had been there that evening had left before him to obtain more heroin, and was due back after he had left the building. He strongly believed that the other dealer returned, found Sid out cold, and attempted to steal the remaining drugs, leading to a confrontation with Nancy.
"To tell the truth, at the time it wouldn't have surprised me if he (Vicious) or anyone killed her, she was that obnoxious. When she started up with that incessant whining she was more than the human mind could bear." Chrissie Hynde Rotten No Irish No Blacks No Dogs
On October 22 (10 days after Nancy's death), Sid attempted suicide by cutting his arm very badly and was admitted to Bellevue Hospital for quite some time. At some point after leaving the hospital, Sid was charged with assault for smashing a beer mug in the face of someone. Sid was not a happy camper. He was arrested December 9, 1978 and sent to Riker's Island jail for 55 days. He was released on bail February 1-2, 1979.
At this point Sid was asked where he would like to be, he replied "under the ground." After 4 months, Sid was bailed out. While inside, Sid underwent a complete detox and was squeaky-clean when released into the hands of his mother. Sadly, Sid wrote the following for Nancy while at Riker's.
You were my little baby girl
On February 2, 1979, a small gathering to celebrate Sid's bail was held at the home of his new girlfriend, Michelle Robinson, with whom he'd started living the day he got out of Bellevue Hospital. Although Sid was clean, at the dinner gathering, he obtained some heroin that night and overdosed. Sid was revived but fell asleep again later. Sid was discovered dead the next morning. As New York Chief Coroner Michael Baden explained at the time, when a person has a heroin overdose, and then falls asleep, their heart slows with every REM phase. Sid Vicious died at around 10:00 a.m., after the repeated REM phases throughout the night. Forensic experts subsequently found the heroin was 80 percent pure, as opposed to the 5 percent that was normal for the time and in that area, and because Sid had not been using since October, his tolerance was greatly lowered. On HBO's Autopsy: Post Mortem, Dr. Baden claims Vicious' lungs were filled with fluid and water, which is common for someone who has overdosed on heroin. Ultimately, Vicious drowned in his own fluids.
So, Nancy bled to death and Sid drowned. Yum. Must be careful little ones! Sid was 21 years old and Nancy was only 20. I, for one, am glad they are dead. Hopefully they found solace on the other side (and I know they did). I know that many of you don't see Sid and Nancy as tragic figures. Well, I do think they were and for some reason, I just can't shake this creepy feeling I am having. I've never felt this before in any of the layouts I've written here. The video that I've included called "A visit to Nancy's Grave" really shows what I am feeling. Creepy, stark, desolate.
I really and truly have come out of this with a haunted feeling so strong that it has an odor as well. The odor is from a grave, a dry vaguely sweet pungent odor. A haunted odor. Scary dead (shiver).
And a bit of trivia and interesting tidbits.
Early in 1977 Sid met Nancy Spungen during a party at Linda Ashby's house. This American girl shared his taste in everything. According to John Lydon he even introduced them. "I even got him the girlfriend who ruined him. It's terrible." John Lydon Rotten No Irish No Blacks No Dogs
Deborah Spungen, Nancy's mother, on seeing Sid for the first time said, "With his drooping eye and malevolent expression he had to be the creepiest looking young man on the face of the earth." Deborah Spungen, And I Don't Want To Live This Life
Of their relationship though Deborah Spungen said, "Nancy was genuinely happy, possibly the only time she had been in her entire life."
While Sid's mother, Ann Beverley, said, "Simon (Sid) was never a very loving sort of person. He didn't reveal himself to many people, and he could be very cold, but he loved Nancy very dearly. He loved her with all his heart, and that had to be very big to take what he did from her."
About Sid's grave! Well, there are a couple of different stories about Sid's final resting place and as usual, we don't know which is true but ...... Sid had written a suicide note saying that he and Nancy had had a death pact. Well, obviously Nancy was held true to the pact! In the note, Sid included his wishes for his final arrangements. Sid wished to be buried with Nancy, of course, but apparently Nancy's family was totally against it. Well, I don't know why! The story goes that Sid was cremated and his mother went to the cemetery where Nancy is in the middle of the night and sprinkled Sid's ashes on Nancy's grave. Well, that woman would have had to be on drugs because where Nancy is buried is CREEPY. You can see it on the You Tube video I included. For some reason, it scared the crap out of me because I was picturing Nancy in her grave just LAYING out there like that! Shiver shudder!!! The other story, and I think this one is stupid, is that someone (don't know who) was carrying Sid's ashes at the airport. Don't know if they were coming or going but rumor has it that this clumsy person somehow spilled the ashes right there while boarding the airplane. Of course, they couldn't get all the ashes picked up and some of Sid was lost. I know, that's the pits but you can pick your favorite version and believe that!!!
Alex Cox's 1986 movie Sid and Nancy portrays Vicious's career and his love affair with Nancy. Gary Oldman (yay!) plays Vicious and he does so very well. In his autobiography Johnny Rotten says he despises the movie. I recommend that all should see it. It is quite entertaining and really sheds light on what transpired between Sid and Nancy.
Trivia - Courtney Love was in the movie Sid and Nancy. She played a drugged out hangers on. Courtney did an excellent job in my opinion!
A slice of reality here. What was love to Sid and Nancy? It was all consuming and, sure we all know that those that puke together, stay together. Nancy said so. Sharing a toilet bowl to wretch in was a big thing to Sid and Nancy. Considering they were both addicted to heroin among other things, it's not that hard to believe. And too, I'm serious here (yes, sometimes I'm serious), these 2 lovers where very much in love. There is no one that doubts that!
In some instances, I have quoted directly from my resources so please forgive me. I've listed my references below. Hope this will clear things up a bit. I've also included a few You Tube videos on the next page. These give you a feel for just who Sid and Nancy really were. Hope you liked this trip! Luvs, Janet