In recent years, John Lydon has seemingly lurched from one PR disaster to the next. There was that Disneyland fracas in 2002, which involved an animated exchange with Goofy - a story that was greeted widely with affectionate indulgence. Subsequently, events have taken a seemingly darker swerve. In January 2008, Lydon was accused in the press of verbally and physically attacking Roxane Davis - production assistant on Bodog: Battle of the Bands - when the hotel accommodation she had arranged for him was not to his liking [They recently settled out of court, Ed]; or there was "Duffygate", where Lydon allegedly brought the singer to tears after she had thrust her social attentions upon him at the Mojo awards the following June. [Later proved to be without foundation, Ed] Finally, reports that a member of Lydon's entourage subjected Bloc Party's Kele Okereke to racist and physical abuse during an altercation at a Spanish festival later that year did the singer's reputation few favours.
A parallel lowering of the icon's artistic stock has seen him lose swathes of his original fanbase amid accusations of a sell-out. The first audience defections came in 1983 when, having parted company with original Public Image Ltd compadres, Jah Wobble and Keith Levene, Lydon toured with anonymous American session musicians. He even began playing old Sex Pistols' numbers - something of a volte face, given PiL's aversion to rock cliche. Thereafter, the singer appeared to fall between two audiences: the original punk contingent, who accused him of betraying an unsigned manifesto, and the mainstream pop pickers who found his music and persona gratingly uncommercial.