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Rotten Johnny

Johnny Rotten to Join B-Listers for Reality Show
Monday, January 19, 2004

LONDON  b As Johnny Rotten once snarled, "Ever get the feeling you've been
To the dismay of aging punk fans, a British television company announced
Monday that the former Sex Pistols  singer and angry punk icon -- now known by
real name, John Lydon -- has agreed to appear in the reality show "I'm a
Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!"
"I'm gobsmacked," said Tony Wilson, a British journalist and music
entrepreneur who knows Lydon. "I'm shocked, but I have faith ... I'm sure he's
doing it
for the right reasons."
Other punk fans were appalled.
"The announcement made me feel instantly old. ... If it has come to this for
the prince of punk, then mediocrity really does get us all in the end," wrote
Lee Randall in The Scotsman newspaper.
In The Guardian, rock critic Charles Shaar Murray said "minds boggled" when
rumors of Lydon's participation surfaced. "Whatever happened to punk rock,
Britain's near-insatiable appetite for celebrity gossip -- no matter how
minuscule the celebrity -- and love of reality TV has spawned a clutch of
celeb-reality hybrids, including "Celebrity Big Brother" and "Drop the
Celebrity," in
which the moderately famous face ejection (with parachute) from a plane.
"I'm a Celebrity," which begins its third latest run Jan. 26 on the
commercial ITV network, strands C-list celebs in the Australian jungle,
subjects them
to a series of icky trials involving spiders and snakes and allows the public
to vote them off the show one by one.
The show has proved a hit in Britain, drawing up to 14 million viewers --
nearly a quarter of the population. A U.S. version on ABC last year fared less
There's no prize money for the winner, but previous British victors -- a DJ
and a cricketer -- experienced big boosts to flagging careers.
Alongside Lydon, the lineup includes a topless model named Jordan, former
Olympic 400-meter runner Diane Modahl, '80s pop pinup Peter Andre, and Lord
Brocket, an aristocrat jailed in 1996 for insurance fraud.
They're joined by a member of a girl group, a former soccer player, a former
soccer player's wife, a former BBC royal correspondent and a former radio DJ.
The show's executive producer, Natalka Znak, said the lineup was "the most
unpredictable cast yet."
"Unpredictable" certainly sums up Lydon. As lead singer of The Sex Pistols,
Lydon, now 47, helped revolutionize music with raucous antiestablishment
such as "Anarchy in the U.K." and the bitterly sarcastic "God Save the
The group's outlandish dress sense and incendiary lyrics -- "God save the
queen, the fascist regime" -- shook up British society, but the Pistols'
was short-lived. The band broke up during a tour of the United States in 1978.
At their final show, Lydon goaded the audience with the words, "Ever get the
feeling you've been cheated?"
Lydon went on to form the '80s band Public Image Limited  and now lives in
Los Angeles. The Sex Pistols reunited in 1996 -- with original bassist Glen
Matlock replacing the late Sid Vicious -- for the Filthy Lucre Tour: "We have
found a common cause, and it's your money," remarked Lydon. They reformed
again in
2002 to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II's golden jubilee.