Friday again, well done you lot for making it though another long-toothed week. It should be a good weekend if for no other reason than it has to balance out the days that we’re working right? Thanks for dropping in to the blog once again, I’ve just a few things that need to be covered before working on my Strummer anniversary calendar preview for November and December. It looks like there will be more events than usual as you’d expect with the 10th anniversary this year but if you know of something local to you, email me just in case so I can make sure it gets mentioned here. Plus you never know who lives in your neighbourhood, we Clash fans come in all ages, shapes and sizes these days, you might make a new friend.
We’ve talked a number of times before about the golden age of record shops and how they were our portal to so much brilliant music growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. Be honest, if you’ve never spent the better part of 2 hours exploring a great music shop that you’d never entered previously then you probably are on the wrong blog. Sadly a giant ratio of independent record shops have gone to the wall over the last decade plus but the good news is that those that remain are still fighting hard to stay in business, in fact in many cases they are going through a real renaissance now. Moving to a new city as I did earlier in the year caused me a genuine rush at the chance to check out some new shops here in San Diego. So far I’d give the city a high score with the record shops that remain, the other day I was up north in Carlsbad and stumbled upon a brilliant place that sadly I didn’t have more than 30 minutes to spend time in. Enough time to grab 5 albums though, it’s called Spin Records and it is great to read in this article that sales are up the last few years with vinyl making a significant comeback. I’ve written previously about the excellent book ‘Last Shop Standing’ which looks at the demise and slow revival of the record shop in the UK written by Graham Jones. The book has become the basis for a new documentary film that looks brilliant if you ask me (see below). The film is currently ‘touring’ the UK and you can quite possibly see it in a town near you between now and the end of the year, the schedule of screenings is on the site. You can find out much more about the book, the film and what is quietly becoming a project – to keep local record shops alive – via their official site lastshopstanding.com. Tell them I sent you.
Trailer/preview for ‘Last Shop Standing’
Right then, please share that if you know people who still love record shops. Across the water to Belfast now and a rather unique Clash related event that I hope some of you on the green isle might be able to make it along to. Short notice I’m afraid but I only learned about this today. The annual Belfast Festival starts today and runs into the early days of next month. The festival promotes the full spectrum of the arts in the great city.
Dozens of special events relating to comedy, music, art and drama are scheduled and you can get the full lowdown on the official site but I wanted you to know about a special talk/lecture taking place at Elmwood Hall on November 3rd; a unique event that is a talk about Joe Strummer and I’d imagine a Q&A session too by our good friend and Strummer biographer Chris Salewicz. Chris of course wrote ‘Redemption Song, The Ballad of Joe Strummer’ which is an amazing book and one that I pick up and read again about twice a year, it is a remarkable piece of work greatly aided by his close friendship with Joe that you can feel on every page. It isn’t always a comfortable book but is certainly an important step in understanding much more about Strummer. I wish I could be at the talk, but hope that some of you reading the blog can make it along. Seating is limited so I would act soon if you plan to attend, tickets can be booked by following this link. If you do go and want to write about it, as always I welcome that too. Incidentally you should read this related article in the Belfast Telegraph from yesterday which is worth your time but they have the date wrong at the bottom of the piece so please ignore that.
Right, that will keep you going for now. I’m going the walk the clash blog dog, more tomorrow. Tim