Hello again and thanks once more for stopping in at The Clash Blog. Tuesday night here as I begin this one but I’m not certain I’ll finish it tonight as it’s already rather late, I could put some coffee on but that might result in me staying up until the stupid hours so I’m not completely sure what’s best to do. I’ve also made a fatal blogging mistake by starting this post without being entirely sure about what I plan to cover which may deter you from lurching on with me to the next paragraph but go on, if you take the chance I’ll keep writing.
Some semblance of focus might be best so that I don’t ramble on endlessly, so that will be my approach. I do have a quick question aimed at those who collect a lot of Clash books and there are more now than you can probably justify so I’m getting a little more picky about what I need to add to my collection. In late 2009 a book titled ‘The Clash : Essential Interviews’ was released I believe in paperback only. I sat on the fence at the time about grabbing a copy and now it seems it has gone out of print and with that reached insane prices. My understanding was that it compiles many of the major interviews that the band gave the major music press; NME, Melody Maker, Sounds, Rolling Stone etc. and reproduced those exchanges in full. While that’s not a bad overall concept for a book many of those interviews have seemingly already been reproduced online or in magazine specials (much like the new Uncut one that just came out). If you happened to purchase the book let me know what you thought and whether it was worth the cost/time and such, incidentally here’s the link so we’re on the same page. It does run to over 300 pages so there’s some depth in there regardless.
Speaking of books, in 2012 I am going to add a section of permanent pages to the blog that review DVDs and books that are fully or partly devoted to The Clash/Clash members. If you might be interested in helping out with that please let me know as the help would be greatly appreciated. Ideally I’d like to add a three hundred word synopsis and review of each book and DVD that might be of interest to your average Clash fan. Ideally we’ll also be adding interviews with some of the authors of the better stuff, which is also on the cards for coming months should all go to plan.
At this point you’d wonder if more could be written about The Clash but the excellent work of authors such as Chris Salewicz, Kris Needs and Marcus Gray show that there’s layers to the story that merit more understanding and analysis. The very existence of The Clash was really quite brief but that doesn’t limit the interest shown in that era which says so much about the evolution of the band and it’s components that I’d place it in on level pegging with that famous four from Liverpool in terms of where the story takes you in such a short time. Perhaps the complexity of The Clash was the only thing that clarivaled their brilliance. Summer of 1976 to Summer of 1983 is all you really have to work with and yet I feel there’s still much more to understand even though I feel like an anorak just typing those words. The good news, we still haven’t seen a book with Mick’s, Paul’s, Topper’s or even Terry’s version of events which would certainly add even more colour. I’m sure we’ll see at least three and perhaps all four of those take shape in the near future with two already on the cards (more on that soon). As for Joe’s story of course we can’t get closer than we already have with the excellent “Redemption Song, The Ballad of Joe Strummer” by Chris Salewicz. In my opinion that is the definitive story of Joe Strummer and if for some reason you haven’t already read it then I suggest you address that immediately.
Right then, from a starting point of asking about a book I’ve prattled on for a while about ‘Clash books’ but please take the time to build that library if you haven’t. There’s a lot to be said and written about a band that were so busy making music that they were never properly chronicled when it was all taking place. The other funny impact of history is that Joe was barely given the time of day and The Clash were seen by so many critics as a sell out from 1983 through to the early-mid 90′s that the very thought of reviewing just what the band meant was considered fairly inane and with a limited audience. The reverence that is so often attached to the band today wasn’t the norm after they broke up. We knew best yes, but then again we were fans of the band at the time – not critics or assessors. On the positive side of that we’ve had that much longer to enjoy the band than the press who now venerate them. Odd that isn’t it? Goodnight for now. Tim