I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling

Shooting John Lydon

I love this shot of John Lydon, the sometime Sex Pistol and PiL ringmaster. It was taken outside The Limelight in London in 1987 by Mark Baker.

I worked with Mark at a cracking magazine called The Buzz during the late 1980s (after which he became the in-house photographer for Sony Records in the UK) and I was with him the night that he took this picture. John Lydon was going into The Limelight just as Mark was coming out. Or, to be slightly more accurate, Lydon was going in just as Mark was getting chucked out – quite literally, as it goes – having had a bit of a tussle with a couple of the club’s bouncers.

As Mark lay bloodied and battered on the pavement, he spotted Lydon heading up the steps to the club and shouted, “Hey, you don’t wanna go in there John, look what the bastards do to you”. At which, Lydon walked back down the steps, helped Mark to his feet and gave him a big hug. Mark, a consummate professional no matter how much booze he’s necked or how many times he’s been thumped (he was forever having tussles with bouncers), pulled his camera from his bag and asked Lydon if he’d pose for him. “You can have one shot,” answered Lydon – and one shot turned out to be enough. The V-sign was a lovely touch, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Mark Baker has now produced a digital print of his John Lydon photograph in a limited edition of 45 copies at £45 each. The prints are 28 x 24 cm (paper size 33 x 48 cm), numbered and signed by Mark. They also come with a certificate of authenticity. Get in touch with Mark through his website – click here if you missed the link in the first paragraph – if you’d like to have one on your wall or you need more information.