While interrogating materials for Rethink/Re-Entry – the monograph of artist Derek Boshier I am editing – I’ve come across many delights, including these sketches in the Flowers Gallery archive for one of the most visually striking documents of the post-punk era, CLASH 2nd Songbook.
I’ve had few, if any, lunches as enjoyable as last week’s hook-up with Richard Hell and Jake Riviera for a piece I am writing for GQ magazine.
Richard and Jake first met outside CBGB in March 1976, having been introduced by photographer Roberta Bayley, who was working the club door that night.
With Dr Feelgood’s Lee Brilleaux, Jake had witnessed Richard in performance the night before with Johnny Thunders in the first – and soon to disintegrate – line-up of the Heartbreakers at Max’s Kansas City.
We dined less than half a mile away from Chelsea embankment, where Richard and the rest of his next band the Void-Oids spent a pretty miserable-sounding sojourn on a leaky boat when in the UK on tour with The Clash in 1978.
As Richard recounts in his fabulous memoir I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, he and Jake have shared a series of adventures over the years, some of which I will be covering in my GQ feature which should be out in the summer.
I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp is out in paperback this week; buy here.
I’m assembling materials for Rethink/Re-Entry, the long-overdue monograph of the great British artist Derek Boshier I am currently editing.
The book takes its title from the early Boshier painting which inspired rock’s ultimate art-directed star Bryan Ferry to choose the name Remake/Remodel for the first track on Roxy Music’s game-changing debut LP.
Junior Murvin – who has died aged 67 – will forever be associated with the rebel cool of his 1976 Lee Perry-produced single Police & Thieves. Yesterday morning’s BBC Radio 4’s Today news programme displayed it’s trademark ham-fisted approach to pop culture when eagerly proclaiming the song his shining achievement by managing to misname Paul Simonon “Mick Jones” in an interview introduction and rushing to gush unconvincingly over an excerpt of The Clash’s version.
Personally, I favour another Lee Perry collaboration from the same period, the epic single B-side Memories.
I bought the UK 12inch mix on a shopping spree in a record shop tucked away in an Earl’s Court side street one late afternoon in 1977 on the recommendation of the shop assistant.
At 8mins 45secs, Memories is not only a sonic adventure to match the very best of 70s dub, but also a sweet, romantic song, the yearning, regretful theme over Perry’s bubbling cauldron of rhythms perfectly matched to Murvin’s falsetto whoop (I found Police & Thieves too preaching, which I guess is why it made sense for The Clash – always complaining about being told what to do, they tended towards dictating to their audience).
The flip, Tedious, is pretty good, as were other Black Ark explorations such as Closer Together, but nothing in my view in Murvin’s body of work touches the tenderness of Memories.
Remember him this way:
Joe Stevens: Rare shot of Joe Strummer entering his punk rock future on the night of the Sex Pistols’ audience fracas
These photographs are among images to be featured in Clash Tales, Joe Stevens’ narrated audio-visual event about his experiences with The Clash at Sonny’s Tavern in Dover, New Hampshire, next week.
The photograph above – taken by a friend, Neal Purvis – captures one of the leading lights of London’s Ted scene at the height of his rabble-rousing powers.
Here is “Sunglasses Ron” Fahey taking to the stage of north London venue The Rainbow during The Sun Sound Show, which ran on the nights of April 30 and May 1 1977 and featured rockabilly giants Charlie Feathers, Buddy Knox, Jack Scott and Warren Smith.
This photograph – taken by Joe Stevens in early 1976 in Fulham, west London – is featured in the exhibition Just Chaos!, which opens tomorrow (May 7) at Marc Jacobs’ Bleecker Street NYC bookstore BookMarc.
The T-shirts worn by Simon and Hynde were among the first variants of a limited edition designed by Malcolm McLaren to promote the newly formed Sex Pistols. A few were also sold in Sex, the environmental installation/shop operated by McLaren with Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road in World’s End, Chelsea.
“Malcolm dropped the shirts off at my Finborough Road studio; they were freshly silk-screened from a limited edition,” says Stevens, then working for the NME and living with Simon (who was employed by rival music paper Sounds). “Chrissie was living in a squat and cleaning offices for a living. She’d drop by the pad to take showers. I’d hear her singing in there and realised she had a wonderful voice.”
McLaren produced the designs with the express aim of promoting the new group. “This was my first attempt at making a Sex Pistols T-shirt,” he told me in 2006. “I wanted to create something of a stir.”
Next month sees the opening of an exhibition of 53 collages tracking the fortunes of West Ham United FC over a season; they are all the product of expat football fan and music industry maverick Kosmo Vinyl.
The show’s title, Is Saitch Yer Daddy, is taken from 60s graffito adorning a wall near West Ham’s home ground. Residency in New York for many years hasn’t dampened the ardour for The Hammers of this figure who played key promotional and managerial roles for Graham Parker, Stiff Records, Ian Dury and The Clash.
In the late 60s, New Yorker Joe Stevens made a name for himself as an all-action photographer, covering riots, demonstrations and ant-Vietnam War marches for radical weekly The East Village Other (whose contributors’ list also included Allen Ginsberg, Robert Crumb and Abbie Hoffman).
But Stevens grew restless. “I wanted to do the same thing in London,” says Stevens. “I told my editor I’d probably return in a few weeks. By the time I did 10 years later, the US underground press had vanished.”
Artist Derek Boshier’s practice is marked by his engagement with contemporary culture; this has been a consistent aspect of his work since the earliest days of the British Pop movement.
When popular music has invigorated the wider world, Boshier has been present, incorporating Buddy Holly into his painting I Wonder What My Heroes Think Of The Space Race? in Ken Russell’s defining 1962 Monitor piece Pop Goes The Easel, and providing one of the most vivid visual documents of the punk and post-punk era, Clash 2nd Songbook.
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