‘I Miss My Grandmother’ – Johnny Lydon On His Wife With Alzheimer’s And His Eurovision Bid
He’s been performing for over 50 years but Johnny Lydon is feeling nervous ahead of tonight’s Late Late Show Eurosong Special performance.
nd with good reason: Hawaii – the song he hopes to bring to Liverpool in May – is filled with meaning. It was a love letter to his wife of 44 years, Nora Forster, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
“I feel afraid. Fear of misunderstanding… let people down. Mainly to let Nora down,” said the former frontman of The Sex Pistols.
Lydon met his wife in the movie Sex by Vivienne Westwood in 1975. He’s been Nora’s full-time carer since 2018. When he talked about the song and his relationship with his wife at the premiere. Eurosong press eye of RTÉ yesterday, he was sometimes overcome with emotion.
“I even shiver now when I think about this because it means like the whole world to me,” he said. “The saddest thing is watching the gradual degeneration and death of someone you’ve loved for 45 years.”
He added: “These were our last years together, and I miss her like crazy. My only communication with her at the moment is on the iPad, but it would be nice to talk to her that way.
“I miss my wife.”
He hopes the song will raise awareness about the disease.
“I wrote a song that I wanted to fully absorb about the disaster my wife was going through. I think I succeeded. I’m not sure but here we have a wider audience to share that with.”
Many were surprised when RTÉ announced that Lydon (67 years old) and his band, Public Image Ltd, would be among the contenders to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2023.
On the surface, the extreme camp singing competition seems to have very little in common with his anti-Established punk-rock personality. And he wasn’t overly praising the competition. “All those songs are disgusting to me,” he said on the radio last month.
But yesterday, he claimed those comments were made in a joke. He said: “I was laughing and all of a sudden it turned into something wrong.
“It’s something I watched as a kid with my parents. I miss Johnny Logan… I miss Sandie Shaw… Eurovision is as good as any other way of listening to music.
“I don’t have any preconceptions about things like that.”
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Lydon’s mother, Eileen, is from the Cork village of Carrigrohane and his father, John, is from Tuam, Co Galway. “My parents would be very angry, so in many ways they are with me right now.”
Tonight, he and five other artists – ADGY, Leila Jane, K Muni & ND, Wild Youth and CONNOLLY – will compete to represent Ireland at Liverpool. Hopefully we will have better results than in recent years.
Since the last time in 2013, with Ryan Dolan’s Only love exists, we qualified for the final only once. That’s when Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s Together ranked 16th in 2018.
This year 19 years old, Jennifer Connolly is loved by bookies with her song Midnight summer night.
“This will be my first real performance,” said the music production student.
“I’ve performed at a strange family’s wedding but never like this… I’m digging deeper.
“I wrote the song when I was 17, in the middle of a pandemic – so it’s about a distorted view of time.”
The decision on who will represent Ireland in May will be made through a combination of public voting, a national jury and – a relatively new feature, that is – an international jury .
Looking for a successful Eurovision bop on Late Program success is not always guaranteed.
Indeed, RTÉ’s executive producer and longtime head of Ireland’s Eurovision delegation, Michael Kealy, thinks RTÉ should invest more financially in the song competition. He wanted a national song contest similar to Sweden’s Melodifestivalen.
“I would love to see an independent Eurovision show,” he said. “It’s great to have it on Late Late and Ryan (Tubridy) is a huge supporter of Eurovision. But I think it would be beneficial to have an independent gig, like they do in Scandinavia.
“I think it’s just getting bigger and that should be reflected in what we do.”
This week, the excitement between performances in Late Program studio was palpable. Kofi Appiah, of rap group K Muni & ND, said he decided to join their song, under the rainwhen he was trying to access the RTÉ . website Late Late Toy Show tickets for his siblings.
“I thought as a joke, let me come in and see how it goes because I know rap music doesn’t really get a lot of play on Eurovision,” K Muni said. “Two months later I got a call saying we’d been selected.”
Marty Whelan buzzed about the set and described the contest as awesome and “delicious” while Late Program presenter Ryan Tubridy calls the eclectic group of singers a “music selection box”.
We both seem confident that this year we can have better luck at the duet competition. “It’s time to party again,” Tubridy said. “Time to bring it home.”
The Late Late Show Eurosong Special, Friday, RTÉ One, 9:35pm
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-news/i-miss-my-missus-johnny-lydon-on-his-wife-alzheimers-and-his-eurovision-bid-42325271.html ‘I Miss My Grandmother’ – Johnny Lydon On His Wife With Alzheimer’s And His Eurovision Bid