Good Morning indeed, it’s a beautiful morning, I’ve got coffee ~ the house is silent and I was able to sort my cd/record collection yesterday. You know how rewarding that can be. More importantly after 36 hours of problems the internet (well my connection) seems to be working properly again – what a wank the last 2 days were. No internet for me means I can’t work nor update the blog, so I’m the hole on both counts.
So expect a quick ramble and not much in the way of enlightenment. Thanks for all your comments the last few days, speaking of reunion concerts seems to bring out emotion of satisfaction and disdain. I think the difference might be whether you saw the band first time round? I confess though I did see two bands that weren’t near the original line ups (I failed to mention this) and had mixed results. First the positive, a few years ago I saw Buzzcocks for the first time in about 16 years and it was brilliant. Small sweaty club, songs at breakneck speed, loud, energetic and an enthused audience. I was even impressed with their new material and of course the final 6-7 songs reinforced just how bloody marvelous the band were in their prime. Of course I was shocked at how they had aged (I was reminded so had I) but the power and delivery of the buzzing guitars was a fantastic rush for this old punk. Trivia time, please explain the connection between Buzzcocks and Twin Peaks.
Then there’s the other experience which I stupidly neglected to mention. I also think this example of seeing a band without original key member(s) has caused me a 24 year scar that led to me avoiding most similar concert circumstances. It was of course seeing The Clash without Mick and Topper. The emotion I can recall was confusion, I felt guilty (for seeing them without Mick who I adored), I felt betrayed (especially when Police On My Back was sung by another), I felt inspired (Joe was still Joe, how could you fail to enjoy being close to the front with him on stage?) I felt embarrassed (the new songs were simply not just a step down from expected songwriting they were horrible). Yes I was 16 and didn’t have hundreds and hundreds of concerts under my belt yet but somehow this impacted me ever since. It was like seeing Ian Wright playing for West Ham after he left Arsenal, or drinking Ribena from a can instead of the bottle or carton. Just really odd variations of the original. It’s not the same and it’s daft to pretend it compares.
I know there are exceptions which I’ll hear about, but even Echo and The Bunnymen who I’ve stayed loyal to; it’s never been the same since Pete Defreitas passed away. Right back to my coffee….Clash updates will follow today (Mick Jones video worth coming back for) and a Clash cup match up.
Friday….this is a good thing! Once in a while I stumble over a blog that I just have to share as a single item and this morning is one such time. Please check the fantastic photos and commentary over at the selvedge yard blog.
All too often we downplay our passion and dedication for something – perhaps due to a fear of being let down. The Clash seemed to run the right course for the right reasons. Yes it ended too soon, and yeah some mistakes were made but if you are close to my age and fell in love with the potential of a band and music in general it may well have been due to The Clash. A band that made you go to the library and the record shop. A band that made you know that questioning what was considered safe wasn’t dangerous. A band that made you feel capable of coping with the shit of daily life and fighting for something (anything) that you believed in. One of the quotes I see most often recently is “We need The Clash/Joe more than ever now”. I argue we still have them, so let’s make sure others do too. Nothing lasts forever but music and art can come close.
Hello again, it’s a lovely cool (by desert standards) evening here in the city and time for a quick post. Some more interesting odds and sods for you. If you’ve ever wandered into East London for a concert chances are it might have been at the Hackney Empire. This fantastic old theatre is somewhere I’ve been lucky enough to have spent a few New Years Eves with Billy Bragg and seem some other great concerts. It’s a brilliant and historic setting for a performance and I was troubled to read in the Guardian that the old warhorse is set to close in January. It sickens me that in a country that is pouring billions into the risky lottery of the 2012 Olympics (a short bus ride away in Stratford) that a cultural landmark like the Empire looks to be going the way of the Dodo. This happened once before at the start of the decade and I hope something can be done once more to save it.
I really need to get down to the library or the bookshop, far too much of my reading these days is news, Clash research or football and blogs. It was reading this article that made me think here is a book I must read soon. Stiff Little Fingers were such an important band that I don’t feel get the recognition they’ve deserved for so many years. I can see a late rush of interest as punk/post-punk historians get to grips with what mattered most apart from the usual London/Manchester and Liverpool suspects. SLF are once such band and I think a book such as this might get the interest and exposure back where it should be. If you grab a copy before I do please drop a line to the Blog and let me know what you think of it.
Speaking of old punks this article in the New Zealand Herald opens the debate of ‘The 10 worst band reunions ever’ which is a topic I’ve pondered myself. Needless to say a certain well known contemporary band of The Clash make their list of suggestions for an exercise in 1996 (and repeated since). Every time the Clash reunion buzz (especially pre Dec 2002) got in motion I satisfied my desire with the thought that something really special ended when it was meant to. The Clash ended too soon in my opinion but better left alone in the two and half decades since. I’ve never been that nostalgic as opportunities to see many bands where crucial earlier members are missing has been avoided by me. All that said it’s safe to say this decade has been the pinnacle of reunions – which are the best and worst you’ve been along to see live?