John lydon

Boff Whalley: 'In defence of anarchy'

It's the catch-all term that's being used to describe this week's riots. But is this really anarchy? Not even close, says Chumbawumba's Boff Whalley, a self-professed anarchist

Van der Graaf Generator, Barbican, London

They used to call Peter Hammill "the Hendrix of the voice". There are passages of unique emotional force tonight which show you why. His band Van der Graaf Generator formed in 1967 and supported Hendrix at the Albert Hall, during an initial career characterised by stage-splintering Italian riots, mysterious near-drownings and possible possession by Ibiza witches. They were the "prog" band John Lydon loved. They split in 1978, and reformed in 2005, around which time Hammill (a prolific solo artist) almost died. Strong forces work through them still. A trio since the acrimonious departure of saxophonist David Jackson soon after they reformed, this is the first time they've filled the gap in power he left, the best I've seen them since a 2005 night in Milan when, as he sang, Hammill seemed somewhere else.

The A-Z of progressive rock

It was meant to have ended with punk. But the much-maligned musical genre, with its protracted guitar solos and pretentious album titles, is back. So do you know your Atomic Rooster from Van Der Graaf Generator? Let Jonathan Brown be your guide

Johnny Rotten: 'Don't call me a national treasure'

In 1975, the Sex Pistol’s lead singer was the angriest man in the UK. Now living in LA, John Lydon is still furious – and as entertaining as ever. He talks to Guy Adams about insulting Hollywood’s elite, why he’s chosen gardening over amphetamines, and the real reason he didn’t make Malcolm McLaren’s funeral

Best music books for Christmas

Books on classical music are these days as rare as hens' teeth. Indeed, only Faber, with its links to Benjamin Britten, features at least one title per season. And for the true Britten aficionado (or those whose curiosity was piqued by The Habit of Art), there's John Evans's Journeying Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten (£25). Of broader appeal is Susie Gilbert's Opera for Everybody: The Story of English National Opera (Faber, £25). The company, product of late Victorian philanthropy, began life at the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells before settling at the Coliseum in the 1960s – a people's opera to rival Covent Garden. Thatcherism inflicted more damage than two world wars, and it has never entirely recovered.

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Hit & Run: The faces don't fit

When a world-famous celebrity decides to endorse an insurance company, the chances are it's not because they've saved 100 quid on their home contents cover. More likely, they've been offered a considerably larger sum for approximately half a day's work. How else to explain Iggy Pop's bizarre appearance in a new advertising campaign for Swiftcover? In the television commercial, the perenially topless Mr Pop explains that his crazy life leaves him little time or patience for paperwork. Swiftcover.com, however, stores all his information securely online without him having to think about it: "Get a life!" he orders us, "Get Swiftcovered!"

Neil Young, Hop Farm Festival, Kent

Walking on in a paint-splattered jacket, Neil Young salaams modestly. Soon, he's bending over his guitar, trying to buck it into life. A large fan makes his long, thinning hair blow back, as if he's always in his music's hurricane. By the time he finishes two hours later with The Beatles' "A Day in the Life", the crowd have had exactly what they came for.