Leading Article: Pretty vacant, Pistols

Bill Grundy would be a happy man today. It was Grundy who made the Sex Pistols famous in December 1976. He interviewed them on a teatime television news magazine. They scowled and swore and despised him. His affronted impotence in the face of their disdain symbolised the shock felt by a generation of parents at the arrival of punk.

Were it not for the evident discomfort all those safety pins and ripped jeans caused the older generation, musically mediocre punk may never have taken off. But in part thanks to Grundy's evident displeasure it was irresistible for many young people. If you could shock your parents that much, it had to be worth doing.

Now the Sex Pistols are back, without the sadly departed Sid Vicious. You might think Grundy would be turning in his grave. But you'd be wrong. The Sex Pistols are back because they are sad, middle-aged entertainers in need of a fast buck and all too happy to exploit the commercial opportunism of a record industry that 20 years ago they led a generation to believe they disdained.

At least the Rolling Stones and Status Quo have never made any pretence of their commercialism. That is part of what makes them such good acts. But the Sex Pistols? Can you imagine all those clashing chords, tuneless songs and pretentious words from people old enough to have negative equity, kids in private schools and personal pensions. They'll probably turn up to the gigs in Volvos.

No, this is Bill Grundy's revenge. For the Sex Pistols have returned as Bill Grundy; well, almost.