The Ritchie’s marriage has broken up. Mother Anne embarks on a nomadic bohemian lifestyle, which takes her and her son to Ibiza for two years, then to Soho where she works at Ronnie Scotts jazz club.
At age 4 years, Nancy is sent to see her first psychiatrist,. Although she has tantrums and mood swings, she has an extremely high IQ.
Simon Ritchie becomes Simon Beverley, after his mum remarries. But 6 months later his new father-figure dies, devastating both Simon and Anne. They stay in Tunbridge Wells for 6 years.
In a school for disturbed children, Nancy discovers drugs at age 13.
The Beverleys move back to London from Tunbridge Wells
Simon reverts to being John. Goes to Hackney Technical College, and meets John Lydon (later known as Johnny Rotten) and Jon Wardle (later Jah Wobble).
Aged 16, he is injecting drugs along with his mother, Anne Beverley, openly in front of Wardle and Lydon.
Nancy, aged 15, is now a heroin addict, and also diagnosed as schizophrenic. She attempts to self-abort with a coat-hanger, and attempts a suicide.
May 27th: Sid is charged with assaulting two police officers, after going drunkenly berserk.
Nancy is studying journalism and marketing at Colorado University. But she’s expelled for stealing, and ends up in a mental hospital.
In the gang he hangs out with, there’s also Johns Lydon, Gray and Wardle. The 4 Johns! So Lydon rechristened Ritchie as Sid, after his pet hamster. Ritchie hates the name, but has to live with it.
“I hate the name Sid, it’s really vile and poxy. I stayed in for two weeks because everyone kept calling me Sid, but they just wouldn’t stop. Rotten started. He’s ‘orrible like that, he’s always picking on me.”
Nancy is living in New York, hanging around with bands at clubs, earning cash as a topless dancer, a dominatrix and turning tricks in the sex trade. She’s becoming a hard-core groupie, modelling herself on Sable Starr. Many years later, Courtney Love takes Nancy Spungeon as her role model.
November 6th: The Sex Pistols play their first gig. Sid becomes one of the entourage following around this new but unknown underground group up against the world that his mate John Lydon, now called Johnny Rotten, sings in.
Rotten has given Sid a new surname: Vicious, after his ironically named soft pet hamster.
“The Vicious thing was just a joke; he was a softy. It was only when people looked at him when he went out that he thought he had to live up to the name.” - Anne Beverley, Sid’s mum.
Sid invents the Pogo Dance – jumping up and down in the tiny crowd that comes to see his mate John Lydon in the Sex Pistols.
NME music journalist Nick Kent, famous for championing and dissecting real rock’n’roll, attends a Sex Pistols gig. An old friend of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, he rehearsed with the band in their formative years; right now he’s a junkie in a bad way. Sid, out of it on speed, perhaps with encouragement from either McLaren or group members, takes a rusty bike chain and whips Kent around the head. There’s blood everywhere. The event is reported in the music papers, giving the Pistols a really dangerous reputation. Maybe there were personal undercurrents – Nick Kent has been going out with Chrissie Hynde who is part of the Pistols and Sex shop scene; Chrissie is also a good friend of Sid’s. (Though Sid around this time boasts that he’s the most sexless creature in the world.) Later, Sid & Nick will sort of make up.
4th: Sid sees The Ramones at The Roundhouse. Previously he’s been heavily into Iggy & The Stooges and David Bowie. Now he’s learning bass by playing along to the Ramones first album. The following week at Dingwalls he gets to the aftershow party, and shares a fix of speed with Dee Dee, shocking him by loading his syringe with dirty toilet water.
23rd: Nancy reviews the Heartbreakers’ first gig with Billy Rath in place of Richard Hell, at Max’s Kansas City, for New York Rocker, issue 4. She’s got a big thing about their drummer, Jerry Nolan. He’s been friendly; she seems to be obsessed. Jerry says he turned down her sexual advances (no doubt fuelling her more) but got her to spend her money on him.
19th: Being part of the tiny, embryonic punk scene, Sid’s hanging out with lots of people who are now forming bands. You don’t have to be able to play well, it’s the attitude that counts. The day before Siouxsie & The Banshees are due to play the 100 Club Punk Festival; Marco Pirroni suggest Sid Vicious should join them on drums. It’s a one-off performance that Siouxsie has blagged; they decide that as they haven’t time to rehearse songs they’ll just do a 20-minute experimental art piece; The Lord’s Prayer with Siouxsie wailing over heavy rock clichéd guitar.
20th: Sid plays drums with Siouxsie, they perform, supporting the Sex Pistols, ‘Twist & Shout’ and ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’ alongside ‘The Lords Prayer’ and ‘Deutschland Deutschland Uber Alles’. The set is described by some as ‘unbearable’, but reminding Nils Stevenson of Yoko Ono’s ‘The Fly’. Sid & Siouxsie wear swastikas, which as intended upsets a few people, including the Clash’s manager Bernie Rhodes.
21st: Sid is arrested on the second night of the festival; a glass has been thrown, it hit a pillar and shatters into shards. One goes into a girl’s eye, tragically wounding her. Was it Sid?
22nd: The group Sid is loosely rehearsing with is given the name ‘Flowers Of Romance’ by Johnny Rotten. It includes variously Palmolive & Viv Albertine (later of The Slits), Steve Walsh, Jo Faull, Sarah Hall, Steve England and Keith Levine (Clash/Public Image). In amongst Ramones covers, Sid composes some originals, including the black-humoured ‘Belsen Was A Gas’, his only composition to ever be recorded. ‘Piece Of Garbage’ and ‘Brains On Vacation’ never get to be heard.
9th: The Sex Pistols sign to EMI Records. They are the all-pervasive UK establishment label; as well as the Beatles and Queen they have lots of classical and opera music.
19th: ‘Anarchy In The UK’, the Sex Pistols’ debut single, is released on EMI. The Damned have beaten them by a month as the first UK punk single, with ‘New Rose’ on the new indie Stiff Records.
1st: The Sex Pistols have their notorious TV interview with Bill Grundy. Together with Siouxsie and other members of the ‘Bromley Contingent’ they sit around waiting, and get lots of complimentary drinks. The leering and sarcastic interview lasts about two minutes; Grundy foolishly goads them into swearing.
2nd: Suddenly the front pages of all the UK national papers are covered with the Sex Pistols – they’ve sworn on prime-time TV, and the nation agrees: they’re truly disgusting! Viewers have attacked their television sets, the papers report. Interviewer Bill Grundy is suspended from his job for encouraging them.
3rd: The ‘Anarchy In The UK’ tour with the Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned and Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers starts today. Only it doesn’t. Press outrage from the TV interview means all but 3 of the 19 dates get cancelled. The ‘tour’ becomes surreal.
7th: EMI have their Annual General Meeting, and the Chairman is forced to make a statement about ‘this young pop group’ the Sex Pistols. They’ve been accused of ‘peddling filth’ and are facing a shareholder’s revolt.
25th: Every time a gig is cancelled, there’s been yet more press coverage, covering comments from both the local authorities and the band. A representative of the Greater London Council says: “My view on punk rock is that it’s nauseating, disgusting, degrading, ghastly, sleazy, prurient, voyeuristic and nauseating. I think most of these groups would be vastly improved by sudden death.”
Lee Black Childers, the Heartbreakers manager, at a party stumbles upon Sid alone and listening to a sentimental Jim Reeves record. He’s crying.
4th: At Heathrow airport, on their way to tour Holland, a Sex Pistol is reported to have “spat, vomited and swore”. This is a repeat of a New York Dolls incident when Johnny Thunders threw up. Malcolm McLaren is modelling the Pistols on the Dolls; did he manufacture the story?
6th: EMI have tried to brush off criticism, but now the Chairman Sir John Read issues a statement to the press: they’re dumped by EMI and the single is deleted.
28th: EMI have to pay up to get out off their contract. It’s £50,000; ker-ching!
13th: Sid Vicious gives an interview to LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, where he says he has ‘auditioned’ for the band. But what about Glen Matlock?
28th: Sid Vicious officially joins the Sex Pistols. Malcolm McLaren announces Glen Matlock’s departure in a telegram sent to New Musical Express: “Sid Vicious their best friend and always a member of the group but unheard as yet was enlisted. His best credential was he gave Nick Kent what he deserved many months ago.” After years of rehearsing and gigging, founder bassist and main songwriter Glen is fed up and leaves the band.
10th: A&M Records sign the Sex Pistols, now with the spiky and photogenic Sid Vicious, at a photo-opportunity in front of Buckingham Palace. After the posed ‘signing’ they go to the A&M offices, trash them, and abuse the staff.
12th: The Speakeasy Club is a late-night drinking club frequented by old guard music bizzers. The Pistols invade it, and start arguing with Bob Harris, the presenter of Old Grey Whistle Test, a 70’s rock show veering towards old-school country-rock is there. A barfight ensues, Harris’s companion gets glassed, needing 14 stitches.
15th: Nancy arrives in London, clutching Jerry Nolan’s guitar that she’s got out of the NYC pawn-shop for him. Jerry takes the guitar – but doesn’t let her in! After the Heartbreakers gig at The Speakeasy (recorded and later issued on Jungle), to the band’s horror, Nils Stevenson lets her in to their flat. Johnny Thunders locks his door, Jerry Nolan gets into bed with Nils & Simone fully clothed, to escape from Nancy. They’re completely paranoid of this woman. Everyone is shocked and wary of this junkie-groupie rock chick who habitually cuts her wrists.
Meanwhile, a letter to A&M arrives from Bob Harris’s lawyers. His manager also manages Peter Frampton, one on A& M’s top acts.
16th: A&M Records sack the Sex Pistols! Just one week this time. The payoff:-£75,000; ker-ching!
20th: Nancy is ejected by Johnny Thunders & Jerry Nolan from their flat. She moves in with dominatrix Linda Ashby, who earns a good living whipping celebrities and MPs. By now, Nancy has met the Sex Pistols, hit on Johnny Rotten who is nasty to her. But Sid is sorry for the girl who everyone’s rude to. Has he ever had a girlfriend before?
28th: Sid appears live with the Pistols for the first time – a short notice secret gig at a Catholic church’s Notre Dame Hall in London’s Leicester Square.
3rd: Another rare gig – the London Islington cinema, the Screen On The Green.
6th: Sid in a bad way is dragged out of Linda’s flat. Malcolm quizzes him – is he shooting up? Nancy has introduced him to heroin. Sid is sent home to his mum.
12th: Sid’s looking yellow, the doctor confirms hepatitis, contracted from dirty needles. He’s moved again.
16th: Sid is now in St. Anne’s Hospital, Tottenham with the hepatitis.
1st: Nancy visits Sid in hospital regularly, as well as Sophie Richardson and the band.
12th: Virgin Records sign the Sex Pistols. Maybe they’ll get along better with hippies than straight businessmen. It is a radical change of image for the previously hairy label. Ironically, many years later, owner Richard Branson sells Virgin Records – to EMI.
13th: At last Sid is out of hospital, it’s been 4 weeks. His signature is still missing from the Virgin contract. And the band have recorded much of the album without him – Steve Jones has recorded the bass parts.
16th: Manager Malcolm McLaren has to debunk a suggestion made on TV that the Pistols have a connection to the right-wing National Front party. “The Sex Pistols are not into ANY political party. Anarchy is not fascism but self-rule and a belief in following one’s own way of life without recourse to any form of dictatorship or nationalism. We hate this kind of army nonsense.”
27th: The ‘God Save The Queen’ single is released, after various pressing and promotional hiccups.
28th: Johnny Rotten’s mum is interviewed by her local paper. ‘Mrs Rotten’ says: “He’s not going around murdering people. In fact, groups like the Sex Pistols help society by bringing kids in off the street.”
31st: The BBC decide to ban ‘God Save The Queen’ from the radio as it’s “in gross bad taste.” Independent radio does the same.