Voices from the Grave-Joe Strummer Birthday Edition #1

For one day only, I’m switching from literature to punk, from the imagination to concrete humanity. Today is dedicated to Joe, on what would have been his 60th birthday. He had a heart bigger than the world, and lyrical ability to match. With compassion, clarity, and righteous anger, he, along with George Bernard Shaw*, pointed me in the only direction I am meant to face.

One of my favourite songs by The Clash.

My wedding song.

I still cry when I watch this video.

*If you think they are an odd pair to be so heavily influenced by, in equal and often parallel  measure, please check out the Pinterest board I have dedicated to them: As Far as Thought Can Reach. It might not offer an intellectual explanation, but it is fun to see them side by side.

A Year in Books/Day 177: Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg The Clash

  • Title: Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg The Clash
  • Author: Alan Parker
  • Year Published: 2004 (Abstract Sounds Publishing)
  • Year Purchased: 2006/2007
  • Source: Unknown
  • About: As a highly detailed discography, albeit with a twist or two, this book is for die-hard fans only. What sets it apart from regular fare is the great love and enthusiasm that Alan Parker has for his subjects, his short but personal recollections of each release, and the nice array of quotes and photographs sprinkled between the data. It is hard for me to be so brief when it comes to Strummer/The Clash, but I will save my words for future reviews of other related books in my collection.
  • Motivation: I don’t believe in the concept of personal heroes, but I can say without artifice or exaggeration that Joe Strummer is partially responsible for making me the kick-ass person I am today.
  • Times Read: 2
  • Random Excerpt/Page 1: “On December 23rd, 2002 I was waiting at Heathrow Airport for a flight to Manchester to spend Christmas with my family. Just before our flight was due for boarding, Pete Wylie called me. Joe Strummer was dead. A heart attack at home, he was only 50 years old when he died. By the time I hit my hometown of Blackburn in Lancashire, the normal Christmas staples playing from pub jukeboxes had been swapped for a new ‘soundtrack’ of The Clash. This would continue for at least five days. My book was almost finished and my hero, one of the men who told me to do this project, was dead.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10

    Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Year in Books/Day 99: PUNK 365

  • Title: PUNK 365
  • Author: Holly George-Warren/Foreword by Richard Hell
  • Year Published: 2007 (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.)
  • Year Purchased: 2010
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: There’s one intense, arresting image for every day of the year. From the legendary to the obscure, the best and brightest, wildest and strangest punk rockers have been time-captured by a long list of great rock photographers. George-Warren’s brief but illuminating text accompanies each photo.
  • Motivation: I’m a punk girl to my soul.

    Siouxsie Sioux at the Edinburgh Tiffany's, 1980

    Siouxsie Sioux at the Edinburgh Tiffany's, 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    I could spend pages waxing eloquently about how Joe, Siouxsie, Ari, Poly, Richard, Lydia and Exene (and so many others) have affected my life, my outlook, my feminism, my humanity, my creativity.

  • Times Read: Countless
  • Random Excerpt/Page
  • Happiness Scale: Off the charts!!