The Clash – Two New Books
Joe Strummer portraits in a signed, limited-edition book should keep fans happy in 2022. Print the Myth is available now on pre-order. This timeless capture of Strummer in Notting Hill is part of a collection by Josh Cheuse, in a volume authorised by the family. The autographed, boxed volume is £500.00 for Clash collectors.
The ultimate London band (defined forever by London Calling) and its Portobello Road, Notting Hill stamping ground, are just part of a personal story by Strummer’s friend and photographer Cheuse (image from the book, below).
The reggae-coloured T-Shirt, My Band is the Mangrove Steel Band, the American mohawk, not-yet-gentrified Notting Hill and serious stare suggest this record of Strummer, will be a 2022 Clash release to watch.
Joe Strummer and Punk Politics
And so to the next Clash book release of 2022. ‘Ever wondered why UK punk rock was political and US punk rock wasn’t?’ Joe Strummer is part of the answer, as is Brixton (more on that further) where Mick Jones and Paul Simonon acquired some of their influences. The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer by Gregor Gall is going on book tour in July.
Billy Bragg: “Gregor Gall takes a deep dive into the convictions and contradictions of the legendary Clash front man who tried to walk it like he talked it.”
“A fine and fitting testimony to the complexity and contradictions of the man’s life, his music and his politics.’
Professor John Street, University of East Anglia and author of Music and Politics.
Brixton and The Clash
Part of Gall’s new book is about Strummer’s views on race in London. The Guns of Brixton was written by Simonon, but has become a Clash brand.
Sampled for Dub Be Good To Me by Norman Cook, for Beats International, it helped The Clash classic reach Number One in the British charts.
Beyond Joe Strummer’s reggae leanings, which inspired his politics on race, The Clash as a whole, and their friendship with Don Letts, turned the band in a political direction not se
Most Clash fans know that Mick Jones and Paul Simonon both come from Brixton, but more recently, Jones appeared in an advertisement shot in Brixton Market for Red Stripe Lager (Rock the Casbah). Brixton, like The Clash, has become iconic (below, merchandise).
Brixton Market became famous as a food and music hub in South London in the 1970s. A large Afro-Caribbean population had migrated there from 1948 to 1971 from British colonies: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago – to help rebuild Britain after World War II. This was the Windrush Generation.
Mick Jones’ family were in Christchurch House in this period, a 1930’s block of flats on Brixton Hill. Over in Notting Hill, the other key hill in the history of The Clash, squats and the Notting Hill Carnival were also contributing to the band’s politics.
Don Letts and Brixton
Friend and chronicler of The Clash, Don Letts, was the only black pupil at Archbishop Tenison grammar school in Brixton in the late 1960’s.
Also in Brixton, the young Paul Simonon (then a local boy) would be taken to the Astoria to see matinee shows.
Later on, the Astoria became The Brixton Academy and The Clash would play there.
The Don Letts Archive on YouTube (below) is a source of rare, nostalgic footage of the South London suburb as Reggae and Ska slowly began to creep into punk consciousness.
Armed with a Super 8, Letts was capturing something nobody else was. The streets are laid out on the map of a previous Clash re-release. A later gig at the Fairdeal Theatre in Brixton also helped locate the band in South London, even though they’re also linked to Ladbroke Grove.
The New Clash Books – Pre-Orders and More
Catch Gregor Gall in July talking about The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer, on the dates below. Tickets at Manchester University Press.