In January 1975, Nancy found work at a fashion shop, but was sacked after only one day. From then on, only music and drugs interested her.
She'd sleep all day and get up in the afternoon, have coffee and a cigarette for breakfast, then listened to music in her room, read books, and made plans on the telephone.
Weekends she'd meet up with some older girls she had met at the shop, and they went to Philadelphia rock clubs like Artemis, drank Black Russians, met guys, and took Quaaludes.
Nancy had begun to inject drugs frequently, financing her drug taking by stealing from her family, and dealing.
She changed her look from hippie girl to rock chick: black tight clothes, platform shoes, and tons of makeup.
About once a month there was a rock concert she'd go to with one of the girls, afterwards they'd go backstage and "party" with bands like Aerosmith, Bad Company and Queen.
She told of her sexual exploits to her sister: Bad Company had been her first band, Aerosmith had wanted to set fire to her after having sex with her, an idea she liked, but they backed out.
Once during this period, she invited all of the Pretty Things and their entourage back to the suburban family home at 848 Red Barn Lane.
On top of this new life-style were the ever present violent, aggressive behaviour and verbal attacks, and after an incident when Nancy threatened to have her "friends in the Mafia" smash up the house and kill her parents, Deborah and Frank decided they'd had enough: they had tried everything to help her, and all that was left was to let her go.
In December of 1975, Nancy moved into her own apartment on West 23d Street in New York, less than a block away from the Chelsea Hotel.
It started off well: when Deborah came to visit a few weeks later, she found the place tidy and clean, and a fridge stocked with food. Nancy seemed healthy, and told of her plans to get a job at a rock magazine, and of the clubs she used to go to: Max's Kansas City, CBGB's, Mothers...
But around Christmas she began calling her mother several times a day, sometimes at night, incoherent, spaced out and troubled, usually to ask for money, but sometimes she was paranoid, or cried that nobody liked her.
The phone calls stopped in early 1976, when Nancy settled into a new routine.
As she had done back home, she slept all day and partied all night, usually at Max's or CBGB's, and began hanging out with Debbie Harry, the Ramones, and others from the New York punk scene. The famous groupie Sabel Starr, at that time girlfriend of Johnny Thunders, used to stay at Nancy's apartment. She briefly dated Richard Hell, and Jerry Nolan from the recently split up New York Dolls, and wrote some articles about punk rock for a local rock paper. Debbie Harry bleached her hair blonde, and around her eighteenth birthday, she happily announced to her family she had got a job: as a stripper in the clubs around Times Square.
She was probably also working as a prostitute and could now afford to become a full-time, hard-core heroin addict.
(According to an old friend, Nancy was working at a brothel at this time)
In May, Nancy'd had enough of the drugs, entered a methadone program, and cleaned herself up.
After four weeks she was back on heroin, OD'd, and was rescued by Lance Loud, her television star neighbour... and then she was off heroin again and on another methadone program.
When the lease on her apartment came up at the end of November -76, she decided not to renew it, but leased it monthly, so she could leave at any time.
She wanted to join her friends, especially Jerry Nolan, who were all heading for London. Slowly she was weaned of the methadone, and when she turned 19, she was off the drugs completely. In March of 1977, she left for the UK.
Left to right: On holiday in St Thomas, 1975, the year Nancy allegedly became a groupie; New York, 1976; with Sabel Starr, 1977; Nancy met Sid shortly after arriving in London; their house in Maida Vale; dressing up for the cameras during court appearances;
court appearances, February 1978; in Paris, spring 1978, where Sid was to record parts for "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle"
A few days after arriving in London, she called her mother to tell her excitedly she had met the Sex Pistols:
"They're the biggest band in England!"
After a plan to go on tour with an all-girl band didn't work out, she went back on heroin, and told her mother nobody liked her and her friends didn't want her to be there, and she had to sleep in a car.
In the summer, she and her new boyfriend, Sid Vicious, moved in with his mother in Dalston, north-east London.
After two months they moved to a hotel, since Nancy and Anne Beverley didn't get along, but after a few violent incidents, one involving Sid dangling Nancy out of the hotel window, another resulting in a police inquiry for drugs possession, they decided to get a place of their own. With the help of Sid's management they found a place at 3 Pindock Mews in Maida Vale, and moved in in late August of 1977.
By February 1978, after the Sex Pistols had split up, and after attending court for drugs charges, Nancy was becoming famous: the press portrayed them as Romeo and Juliet from hell.
They spent a month in Paris (where Sid shot scenes for "The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle") and on returning to London, Nancy made herself Sid's manager.
They figured he'd do better in the US, and on August 24, 1978, they went to New York, and checked into the Chelsea Hotel.
Deborah, who hadn't seen her daughter for 18 months -except for newspaper pictures- was shocked at how much Nancy had deteriorated. "She looked like a Holocaust victim": bluish skin, hair bleached white, eyes sunk into their sockets with black circles underneath, scabs and sores on her face. She'd lost a lot of weight and her black clothes were filthy.
Nancy's plan was to promote Sid's career in New York, find a methadone clinic and get clean.
They spent their first weekend in the US at the Huntingdon Valley house, glassy-eyed and chain-smoking, constantly nodding off and dropping ashes and cigarettes on the sofa.
They were talking about violence: Nancy had had her ear ripped off by Teddys, people constantly picked fights with Sid.
In New York, they moved into the Chelsea Hotel, began attending a methadone clinic, and Nancy went to work on Sid's career, getting him some gigs at Max's Kansas City in September.
But, soon back on heroin, they left their hotel room less and less. One night, a dropped cigarette set fire to the mattress, and they were moved to room 100.
They spent much of their time in bed watching TV, with the lights out and the curtains drawn, with friends and drug dealers dropping by.
On October 8, Nancy called her mother, begging for money. Sid got on the phone, upset and agitated, demanding she send them $3000 immediately. Deborah hung up.
Nancy called later the same day to apologize, and to tell her she loved her and her father very much.
She never called again.
Four days later, on Thursday October 12, 1978, Nancy was found murdered in her and Sid's Chelsea hotel room.
She had been stabbed once in the stomach -with a hunting knife she had bought two days earlier in Times Square- and bled to death on the bathroom floor.
Sid was arrested for her murder.
Nancy was buried on the Sunday morning following her death, at King David Cemetery in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
Instead of flowers, friends were asked to donate to a local drugs rehabilitation center, which set up a fund in Nancy's name.
She was wearing her green prom dress, hair dyed back to its original color, her casket covered with her favourite fall flowers.
The rabbi's speech included a poem by her cousin, and the words:
"From the time of her birth, Nancy was a special, gifted and troubled girl. Despite the love, caring and concern of her family, she experienced an inner torment and disquietude. She turned to drugs not for sensationalism, but for relief from the pain that afflicted her. She knew herself, but was not responsible for the consequences of her actions. She lived for each hour, each day, and consequently much living was crowded into the years of her life.......She saw, heard, felt what others did not and could not. She was different."
Left: January 1978.
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