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Lydon bemoans the iPod generation

John Lydon, the former Sex Pistols frontman, current leader of PIL, and occasional butter salesman, offered a heartfelt lament for the days of vinyl, and a sideswipe on the pre-eminence of the iPod.

Speaking to NME to mark Record Store Day, Lydon emphasised that vinyl records have been key to the spread and growth of popular music. "Records really were vitally important to the development of music," he said.

"That’s been pushed by the wayside. I can’t see an iPod uniting us. In fact it separates us. The streets are full of people bumping into lampposts listening to their own little universe. There’s no sharing in it. It’s become a very selfish thing."

He also bemoaned a situation where the spread of illegal downloads had made buying music far less common. "Nobody wants to pay for anybody’s work, which to me is utterly ridiculous," he said. "To me, the greatest fun was saving up the money to buy a record. I felt I was doing that person an honour, because I was honoured that they had gone to the trouble of making a record for me. I felt part of it."

Lydon fondly recalled growing up in the multicultural area of Finsbury Park, and browsing through stores that stocked hard rock, progressive rock, Turkish, reggae and countless other genres of music. He said it was a joy walking round the neighbourhood just listening to the huge variety of music on offer.

Lydon’s parents threw dance parties at the weekends. "Everybody would bring records," he recalled. "Records and booze."

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