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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Carrying the torch

I'm one of the people who while I had never met Joe Strummer felt his death as a hammer blow to my psyche. I've written about this before and self analysed why his passing left me feeling gutted, and the conclusion that I came to is that it wasn't actually about Joe Strummer dying. It was really that I was mourning the closing of one chapter of my life.
This was a man who had created much of the soundtrack of my youth, and continued to do so long after the Clash had folded, but when his heart quietly stopped beating it served as a watershed moment for me. One where I reflected on the young man I was and would never be again.
This was what I had lost. I hadn't lost Joe as I didn't know him. His passing was just a wake up call that reminded me that time marches on regardless.
As the plaudits for Joe's work flowed in from every corner of the globe certain people moved forward and eloquently put into words how many of us felt.
One of them was Billy Bragg, who more so than anyone had carried the torch of punk protest that Joe had run with. He had never slavishly ripped Joe off and I would even say that he had a more sussed and less naïve political world view than Joe ever did, but The Clash are without a doubt the springboard that Billy sprung from.
So it is no surprise that there are occasions when Billy pays tribute to the Clash live on stage and this is one of those times.
Bit rough and ready, but still worth a listen



  2. This is a crucial addition to any bloated-beyond-reason MP3 collection.
    Glad you enjoyed the Bragg post and that it inspired some kick-ass follow-ups!

  3. You're welcome jeffen. I love the way one blog will kick off something else on another and then another. It gives the blogging world a real sense of community.

  4. thanks matey, im trying this one out too. I always loved joe and still do so he better do some justice here. Thank you, I just started playing the other show now. Im up and about doing stuff. so, ill give you my review later. And I agree about how one blog will kick off something with a post and others will follow with some bad ass post. cheers and have a blessed day bro.

  5. I did meet Joe (twice) and he just struck me as a salt of the the earth type of guy really caring and genuine. Like most I didn't know him but you couldn't help feeling as if you did like a brother, his passing was all too sudden. Billy is mindful of his influenece and always show his utmost respect for Joe and The Clash and how thay politicised him. Nice post thank you mate.

  6. All that is a shame mate. I remember that time Joe disappeared to Paris very well. Bernie allegedly telling Joe the tickets were not selling for the tour and not appreciating the bands "walk up" to gigs on the day. But the important thing is all the great music left behind and we can enjoy and debate that for all time, Cheers.

  7. I never even seen the Clash Marky. Shocking. I know. I had a ticket to see them play the Magnum in Irvine, but Joe buggered off to Paris for the marathon. Remember that?
    Well I got a refund and didn't think anything of it. Turns out the show was postponed and not cancelled.
    I didn't go to the last tour when they played the Glasgow Barras, because I was a wee dick and was still smarting about it "not being the real Clash".
    I know. Hindsight and all that.
    Any other time they played before that I was either elsewhere or skint.
    Same thing happned with the Cramps.
    I kept saying to myself that I would catch them next time and then they didn't come back for years, apart from a couple of London shows, and now it's too late