Sid's Last Stand: Vicious, Nancy & The Chelsea Hotel, October 1978

This place is a shithole, Sid Vicious thinks as he opens the door of his New York hotel room and stares at a transvestite breezing past. It's October 1978, and even as the worlds most notorious punk rocker, he still feels out if place...
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This place is a shithole, Sid Vicious thinks as he opens the door of his New York hotel room and stares at a transvestite breezing past. It's October 1978, and even as the worlds most notorious punk rocker, he still feels out if place...

It was all Nancy's idea of course. Let's stay at the Chelsea Hotel. Artists stay there.

Yeah, piss artists, Sid thinks as he hears another drunk retch his guts up in the sink next door.

In truth he aches for London, his mates, the Portobello Road, but what's left? The Pistols have already imploded into a horrible mess. An American tour that no one really wanted to do. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? John had said. Sid hadn't understood at the time but now it was starting to click into place. The press. The record company. Malcolm. All wankers. Making them tour like fucking Motown. Took all the fun away it did. He can't even remember the last time he talked to anyone in the band. Punk may not have been dead but friendships were. Scattered like Irish dogs on a canal bank.

Still he had Nancy. Mad Nancy. Smashing furniture and breaking hearts. No one had liked her. Her anarchy. Typical punk rockers, Sid thinks as he stares at a piece of graffiti they've written on the wall together. Sid loves Nancy in each other's blood. She'd laughed when he'd cut her hand with a Bowie knife. Who couldn't love a woman like that. They shared everything.  The universe. Each other's blood. The junk that coursed in each other's veins as the rain came down outside.

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It always rained in New York. Big globules of rain outside like the fat rats clung to the dustbins in the alleys. Sid watched it now. Thought of Nancy scouring the neighbourhoods for their shared spoils. Heroin. She'd been gone a good hour now. He didn't want to think about it. Once you did the rattle begin to kick in, the cold on your bones. Plain bad luck. It was a curse alright and he cursed the people for getting him involved in it. He thought back to his first time. Johnny Thunders. If you're a real punk Sid you'll do this he'd sneered. Fucking yank. All mouth. He can picture him now laughing as he'd puked over himself. It was little wonder they called it 'hammer'. That's what the first time felt like. A great murderers hammer coming down.

But now. Well, now it was something else. That feeling of warmth travelling up your spine, taking your troubles away. Sid would nod into Nancy's arms, think of good times. Stuff from childhood mainly. Throwing rocks at cats and drinking in bus stops. Good old Blighty. Not like this place. This artists shithole. He stares at the floor and the stains like rotting paint and suddenly sees something poking out from underneath the bed. A wrap. A beautiful fucking wrap they'd forgotten about. Thank you Jesus, he thinks for your junkie miracle. He smiles like a great conspirator in a ruse. He knows what's coming.

Just Sid and his arm and a spoon. Whooooooooosh. Like a firework. Everything alright now. The room suddenly looks like an elegant palace. Those guys next door, the band, Malcolm, the suits at the record company - he's got them all wrong. He wants to phone them up immediately, but when he reaches for the receiver it melts like a chocolate bar in the Camden summer. It makes him laugh. He wishes Nancy was here. Then like a miracle she appears in the doorway. Bedraggled. Wet. Like a scuzzy winter ghost. He looks at her. You'll look funny when your forty, he says, but come here anyway.

Nancy. Mad Nancy. Doesn't get the joke. Flashes her brown teeth like a diseased shark. She's building to something. A fuse lit somewhere. Sid has seen this performance before, but he's powerless, pinned in the half light of the room. He watches as she rushes forward. A whirlwind of anger. Screaming fucks and raining blows. Stop Nancy. Stop, he says. But it all continues. All grubby fist and cheap jewellery One of those junk shop rings catches his eye. Even the brown leaps back for an instant. It doesn't want to get involved.

That pain again. The searing pain of pointless violence. He's used to it. But not now. Not in the middle of his warm, opiate bubble. Her reaches out. Grabs hold of something, this time it doesn't melt away. He flashes it out like Zorro. At Nancy. A flash of red and a noise like a zip closing. Then silence. He closed his eyes and a song comes into his head then. Louie Louie. Oh yeah. Everything was going to be alright.

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