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TEDDIE DAHLIN: SID VICIOUS & HIS NORWEGIAN ROMANCE - INTERVIEW BY DEN BROWNE

I'd really enjoyed last year's book by Trygve Mathiesen - "Sex Pistols: Exiled to Oslo", so when a second book on the Trondheim leg of the tour came out earlier this year, I was really keen to read it. I wasn't disappointed either - the sub-title "Sid's Norwegian Romance" hinted at what was to come. It's every bit as good as the Oslo book, with probably a more personal and less analytical feel to it than the first one.

It's funny how some aspects of the Pistols story have become set in stone and are compulsory set-pieces in any writing about punk - Johnny Rotten's audition at "Sex", the Bill Grundy TV show, the Anarchy Tour, the US gigs, to name a few. The Scandinavian tour tho' is a part of the story that rarely gets mentioned or discussed. After I'd read the Trondheim book, I was intrigued that Teddie, the object of Sid's affections, was only represented by one small b/w photo in a book that's otherwise bursting with pictures. Maybe she didn't want to go too public? I mentioned this during the course of interviewing author Trygve Mathiesen for Mudkiss, and soon I was in direct contact with Teddie herself.

Teddie Dahlin was a teenager at the time, and on account of her English speaking skills got involved in helping with the Trondheim gig, as a kind of all-purpose PA/translator with the group and road crew. This was to provide the opportunity for meeting Sid and the adventures that followed. Since then we've had an interesting dialogue by email, mainly discussing Sid's personality and relationship with Nancy Spungen. It was just after the tour that I met the two of them, so it's been good to compare notes and opinions. When Teddie met him, Sid was still a bit uncertain of his status in the group and not sure whether it was permanent or not. He was very much part of the group by the time I got to know him, but still very idealistic and really excited about the whole Pistols scene - certainly a long way from the depressed, cynical junkie who left London for New York a year or so later.

DEN: Why have you decided to write about Sid now after so long?

TEDDIE: Everything that happened in 1977 was put to the back of my mind for a great many years. I didn't think anyone would be interested, to be honest. Then last year I was contacted by the Norwegian author, Trygve Mathiesen, who was writing about the concert the Sex Pistols had in Trondheim, and he'd heard I was involved somehow. We decided I could fill in a lot of gaps he had in his research of the events around the Pistols Scandinavian tour. As the book was about the show, I kept my part to commenting on what we did and where we went. There has been a great deal of media attention around my short relationship with Sid and people wanted to know more. That was what motivated me to write my own book, which goes into much more detail and is about us and not so much about the gig.

DEN: Have you kept all the 'bedroom secrets' intact? How do you deal with this side of things in the book?

TEDDIE: What happened in the bedroom was between me and Sid, and is no-one else's business. I try to be discreet in my book, but the reader can understand what was going on. I have taken it a lot further in my book, compared to the one I did with Trygve, but only because it is important to the overall story.

DEN: How have your family reacted to the book and its revelations? Any response from the other Sex Pistols?

TEDDIE: My family has reacted with amazement. I have three teenage kids, and they think it's cool and makes Mummy a little less boring. They weren't comfortable when I was asked to do interviews when "Sid's Norwegian Romance" came out earlier this year, but I think they have gotten used to it. Initially I wanted to be anonymous, but I won't be able to hide when my own book comes out next year (hopefully), so we are more prepared this time round.

I'd hoped the Pistols would be happy someone was remembering their tour and the events around it. However the reaction I have gotten personally hasn't been very positive at all. I have had a little contact with one band member and another band member's manager, and I think that the general consensus is that they don't really want to bother with books about them that they aren't personally involved in. I was looking for a comment for my own book and the one I got was "sod off" hehe (Yes, that sounds like the Pistols we know and love!)

DEN: Are you still in touch with any of the crew from those days?

TEDDIE: I am still in touch with Roadent the roadie. He is still the funniest guy and he's so interesting to talk to - and I've just heard recently from Boogie [John Tiberi], who was the road manager, and close mate with all the band, particularly Sid. I'm looking forward to reminiscing with him soon. [Photo of Boogie in Norway with Sid & Paul - photographer Ragnar Wold]

DEN: Is your book finished? Are any publishers interested? Any chance of a UK edition?

TEDDIE: The book's finished and sent off to the publisher. I'm talking to the largest publishing house in Norway. Things don't work quickly in the literary world. I've written it in English, but they want it in Norwegian if they're going to publish it. Getting a UK publisher is really hard for anyone and it's even harder if you're foreign. There have been a few articles about me in the UK and some people seem to think I'm English - let's clear that up straight away: I'm Norwegian! If any UK publisher reads this and wants to see a chapter or two, then feel free to contact me.

DEN: What kind of music do you listen to generally? Have you got back into punk since the book came out?

TEDDIE: There seems to be a general misunderstanding out there that I was interested in punk music, or that I was a punk, in 1977. I know that I'm going to get a telling-off from some people for saying this, but I've never really liked punk! At the time I was 16 years old, fresh out of school and only interested in going to the disco to dance. I used to like Earth, Wind and Fire and Boney M back in 1977. I liked New Wave more. Today I only listen to music when I'm at the gym and find it helps motivate me to get a good work out.

DEN: Were you hoping that your time with Sid might lead to something else?

TEDDIE: Sid asked me to go to Sweden with him when he left Trondheim. He asked me to make sure I took my passport in case I wanted to come to the UK afterwards. They had a week of gigs left before they went back to London. He had to go back to the UK for a day for a court case. So yes, I'm sure my time with Sid would have led to something more if my mother hadn't confiscated my passport for the next six months and cut off my allowance. Sid sent me messages that autumn, via friends of mutual friends, asking when I was coming to London.

DEN: Were you aware that he had a girlfriend back in London?

TEDDIE: I wasn't aware that Sid had a girlfriend in England when I first met him. He took a lot of time getting to know me and flirting. It was all day and half the evening before I let him get close to me. I was very disappointed and angry when Steve Jones told me that Sid had a girlfriend at the After Party. We had a row about it and I threatened to leave the party. Sid told me he and Nancy had a serious falling out before he left for the Scandinavian tour. He said he'd met her a few months previously and they were not 'exclusive'. At the time he met me, he was rather angry and disillusioned. He talked about being treated badly and was ready to leave. He said they fought and he was tired of it. I actually asked what Nancy would think of him seeing me, as I didn't want to get on the wrong side of an angry girlfriend, he told me it wasn't that kind of relationship and he was done with it. However, I remember thinking anger's an emotion too, and indifference would have been better. As it turned out I was never allowed to leave Norway, and I didn't hear from him after they went on the USA tour after Xmas '77.

[Photo: Teddie & Steve Jones at the aftershow party]

DEN: How aware of punk and the Pistols were you and your friends before the Pistols visit? Did you read Casino Steel's articles in the paper about the London punk scene?

TEDDIE: I'm sure a lot of people in Norway had heard of the Sex Pistols. If I'm not mistaken, "God Save the Queen" was doing well in the charts. I was only 16 and not really into that kind of music. I wasn't a fan and I never read Casino Steel's articles. Sid actually asked me if I knew Steel, which I didn't until a few years later. I was aware of punk music, but it wasn't something that I was into. Tore Lande - the promoter for the Norwegian gigs - told me to read up on them before they arrived, but I was too busy being 16. I remember deciding that if anyone tried to spit on me, they'd get a slap! In hindsight I think it was a good thing, as I was relaxed and not in awe about meeting them. I actually asked Sid Vicious if he was a roadie!

DEN: Was Sid a full time Pistol then or on probation? Did he feel secure in the group?

TEDDIE: Sid told me he had been asked to play on a trial basis. He'd only been with them for a few months. He loved it! He decided to make himself available for as long as they wanted him. He was definitely a full-time member of the band. Actually he was afraid of losing his position when the Scandinavian tour was planned - he had a court case he had to attend in person, and it was touch and go whether he would be allowed to leave the UK. Apparently he was accused of stabbing someone with a glass [the 100 Club glass throwing incident? - DEN]. A journalist was giving evidence for his innocence. He was afraid that he'd lose his place in the group if they had to use another bass player on the tour. Luckily he was allowed to leave as long as he came back for the hearing. He went back for the day on either Monday, 25th July, 1977 or the next day - I can't remember exactly. I just remember he said John would take care of me for that day - like I needed babysitting haha! - and I found the prospect really scary. [Photo: The Sex Pistols live at the Studentersamfundet, Trondheim, Norway July 21 1977]

DEN: Thanks Teddie, that's great and good luck with the book! We'll be looking forward to reading the book when it comes out - you'll hear about it here first! In the meantime, look out for Teddie Dahlin making her Mudkiss debut interviewing Casino Steel.

Interview by Den Browne 22/07/11
Photos from Teddie’s collection

POST-SCRIPT

Life and death really are beyond our understanding...

Teddie and I had been working together on our interview last week. On Friday we were putting the finishing touches to it and sorting out which photos to use before sending it in to Mudkiss. It had been fun to do and we were both pleased with how it had turned out, and I was looking forward to reading Ted's interview with Casino Steel. Then I noticed a new headline popping up in the news browser about events in Oslo...One minute we'd been happily chatting online and finalising a few things in the interview. And then the madness started. I remembered Teddie saying she was going into Oslo that afternoon, and a good half-hour had elapsed since we signed off.

Read her blog (at John Robb's Louderthanwar site) and you'll see how close she and her family were to Friday's nightmare. Maybe she'd have been in the wrong place at the wrong time if we hadn't been dotting our i's for the final draft. That's the difference between life and death sometimes.

Later, as the full horror of the day became clearer, I had a bad feeling that with that amount of casualties, people I knew would be affected, and sadly that's true.

One time back in the 70's I was working in an office in the West End. A couple of very dull colleagues liked to hang around talking after everyone else had gone home. I usually managed to get away, but one evening there was no escape. I came out onto Oxford Street to hear sirens and ambulances all around. If I'd made my usual way home I'd have been right on time for a bomb placed in a post-box at the entry to the station... Suddenly my Norwegian friends like Teddie, Trygve Mathiesen and Harry Nordskog seem closer and further away at the same time. We want to reach out and help, but it's hard to know how when you're trying to come to terms with the kind of violence and perverted ideology we saw on Friday.

I'm sure everyone with any connection to Mudkiss will join me in sending love and strength to everyone in Norway affected by Friday's events. We live in times of mad random craziness and violence - stay aware, stay safe...