Love Kills – Sid & Nancy
It was during the glorious summer of 1988 when I saw the movie that remains as one of my favorite movies of all-time.
Sid & Nancy (1986), directed by Alex Cox, was a tortured love story about Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols fame and his groupie and junkie girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.
The movie was loosely based on Deborah Spungen’s book “And I Don’t Want to Live This Life”, a biography about her daughter, and Sid’s true love and partner in crime, Nancy.
I highly recommend reading Spungen’s book if you have any interest in the background story of Nancy and of the letters (and poetry) Sid sent Deborah after Nancy’s untimely death.
When I watched Sid & Nancy, I was already well into my punk rock roots, but seeing this movie was a spiritual experience for me back then. I couldn’t watch and get enough of it. I also became an immediate fan of Gary Oldman, who is well overdue for an Oscar for his amazing character acting skills.
Friends hated watching Sid & Nancy with me because I knew every word of dialogue and would mouth it on occasion. I still remember every single word and get a nostalgic chill throughout my body when I watch the movie.
Sid & Nancy left so many unanswered questions within me.
The ending was vague about how Nancy really met her end. You do not see Sid actually stab her, but she runs into the knife that was in his hand.
The end credits also say Sid died of a heroin overdose on February 2, 1979, which is true, but you never know why or how.
I started passionately researching not only the Sex Pistols but both Sid and Nancy as well. I spent many afternoons in the following fall and winter at the library researching and going through microfiche, trying to find the answers I sought.
I had an extensive scrapbook of information I collected and started to piece together everything I could about Sid and Nancy.
John Simon Ritchie was born May 10, 1957. John was a typical teenager growing up in the streets of London in the early 1970s.
John got his nickname Sid Vicious from his best mate, John Lydon (Johnny Rotten), who ended up helping him snag the gig with the Sex Pistols. Sid soon after became the poster boy for the punk rock movement. It has been said that Johnny was the voice, but Sid was the attitude. (Malcolm McLaren – Manager of the Sex Pistols)
Nancy Laura Spungen, born February 27, 1958, grew up in Philadelphia, PA. She was an intelligent, yet very troubled young woman diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 15.
Nancy moved to New York City when she was 17, and a few months later moved to London – she was a heroin junkie and an emerging punk rock groupie.
Shortly after arriving in London, Nancy met the Sex Pistols. She first showed interest in Johnny and when he rejected her advances, she immediately went after Sid.
Sid and Nancy’s relationship was a volatile combination from the start and the beginning of the end for not only the both of them but the Sex Pistols as well.
During my senior year of high school, I made it more than clear that I was a fan of not only punk rock and the Sex Pistols but of Sid and Nancy. Some friends, at my behest, referred to me as Nancy.
I wanted nothing more than to find my own Sid.
I wasn’t trying to emulate them – I didn’t take drugs or make stupid choices as Sid and Nancy did – I just wanted a whirlwind romance with the total devotion and love Sid and Nancy had for each other.
In one of my classes, we had to write a research paper, complete with our opinion of the material in closing. I chose Sid and Nancy as my topic for the paper and my teacher approved it.
I poured my heart and soul into that paper. It was a masterpiece.
I was highly disappointed when I got back my paper and it had a “B” on it.
There were hardly any red marks on the paper and I met all the criteria the teacher set for it. Then at the end of my paper, she wrote her opinion about my paper.
She didn’t agree with the opinion I voiced at the end of my paper, where I referred to Sid and Nancy as a modern-day demented punk rock Romeo and Juliet. This earned me my “B” instead of the “A” I know I deserved.
I lost all interest in the class from that point on, and that’s sad since it was a writing class.
I can remember other teachers and Mom-ster telling me that in ten years I will realize how stupid I was for doing this paper and idolizing Sid and Nancy and punk rock in general.
Here it is almost twenty-five years later and I still hold to my opinions about Sid and Nancy, and Sid is still one of my all-time favorite punk rock icons.
I still have many unanswered questions, but I hold fast to the theory that Nancy was murdered by someone else – whether it was a dealer, Malcolm McLaren, or someone else – I still believe Sid didn’t do it.
Sid also did not “accidentally” overdose on heroin on February 2, 1979. There are many documentaries and books about this controversy. The most recent is that his own mother, Anne Beverly, injected him with enough heroin to kill two people.
Rumor is, Sid was worried he would end up back in prison and Anne killed him out of pity. The world will never know why she did this to her son, unfortunately, since she committed suicide in 1996.
Sid and Nancy, in death, got the notoriety they so desperately sought in life, and as a result, have gained immortality.
Punk’s not dead.
R.I.P. Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen