Penthouse Retrospective

by Deborah Spungen Originally Published: October, 1983

Nancy Spungen | BONUS Penthouse Legacy

We ate in silence for a moment.

“So what are your plans?” Frank said.

“We’re at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan for now,” Nancy said. “We’re gonna get a flat. I thought I’d see if my old one is empty. Our stuff is on the way. Our sofa and clippings and Sid’s gold record and his knives and… ”

“Knives?” I asked uneasily.

“Wish I had me knives,” Sid lamented. “Never know when you might get cut. That’s how I got this eye. In a fight.”

“Once we get settled, I’m gonna promote my Sid,” she said. “I’m his manager now. I’m a professional. Oh, I’ll have to show you my portfolio after dinner! I’m a star! Can you believe it? I made it!”

We smiled and continued to eat.

“Oh, and we have to find a methadone clinic in New York. We brought some back, but it’ll run out pretty soon. You know how we got it past customs?”

“No,” I said.

“ I poured it in a bottle of dish soap. Fairy Lotion, it’s called. They didn’t think to look in it. Wasn’t that stupid of them? I knew they wouldn’t. They’re so unbelievably dumb.” She lit another cigarette. “So, Suzy, how are you doing, love? You moved into the city?”


“Like it?”


“That’s grand. Just grand. And David? You’re in private school?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Sid wants to play,” Nancy said. “David, do you still have your guitar?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll get it.” He went inside to get the guitar from his bedroom.

“Do you know our music, then?” Sid asked us.

We nodded.

“Do you like it?”

We nodded yes.

David returned with the guitar, handed it to Sid.

“Let’s go in the den, Sid,” Nancy said. They grabbed their cigarettes and got up.

“Best fuckin’ food I ever ate,” Sid said.

“Thank you, Sid,” I said.


“Yes, Sid?”

“Is ‘Sha Na Na’ on? On the telly?”

“Do you mean right now?” I asked.


“They’re on tomorrow, Sid,” David told him. “Saturdays at seven.”

“Oh,” Sid said. “Don’t want to miss ‘Sha Na Na.’ They’re my favorites.”

He and Nancy went inside.

The four of us ate our food in silence, glancing occasionally at the remains on Nancy’s and Sid’s plates.

“Come inside!” called Nancy. “Come in and hear Sid play!”

Few can tell a tragic story as well as a mother, and the Nancy Spungen story qualifies as one of the most sad. Beware the dreams of the Punk Romantic..