HEY JOE (Revisted)

“I’m Gonna Keep Fightin’ for What I Believe Is Right”

Twelve years ago today, December 22nd 2002, I took a phone call that told me that Joe Strummer had passed away. 

He was just fifty years old and had died suddenly of a rare heart condition while at home with his family in Broomfield, Somerset.

I lost something that day, Joe had been a constant companion in my life since the late 1970’s when I first heard ‘White Riot’ played in anger, I became a fan and have remained so ever since. I played every 7″ Single and Album I could afford to buy, to destruction – often having to replace some that had become so worn and scratched, that the arm on my ageing Record Player used to dance about on the surface skipping between the tracks. I knew every word to every song on every record and cassette I owned, and voraciously absorbed the passionate and heavily political messages contained in the lyrics.

This was Thatcher’s Britain, I was in Care and was as rebellious as any other teenage lad, but while most kids my age were sniffing glue and pretending to be robots with their idiotic dancing, Joe’s music spoke my language and had narrated my life thus far. 

I became interested in and deeply involved in politician activites, usually of the more radical and militant kind, as complacency was not in my vocabulary even then. 

I read ferociously , I educated myself, disappearing for weeks inside the works of Marx and Engels (may God forgive me), and becoming ever more aware of the world around me.

This continued after leaving care, I began to travel around the country, settling in London for a decade, and grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and shaking the life out of it. 

joe_strummer

I saw Joe and the Clash perform many, many times during those days, and I had the privilege of meeting him on three occasions. Twice while standing at the bar of the Marquee Club, and once when we briefly chatted as he was walking down Tottenham Court Road with his dog attached to the ubiquitous piece of string that served as a lead.

He always had time for people did Joe, always ready to give himself over while putting the world to rights over a drink or a spiff. He showed young people there were alternatives to the complacency, opportunism, greed and political apathy that dominated the culture of Britain. He was the face of rebellion, his resistance shone through in both his politics and his music and remains an enduring legacy to this day.

One song in particular, ‘Clampdown,’ affected me deeply. The song is a stark account of living and working in a capitalist society. It presents the contradictions that are made to make us believe that if only we work hard, don’t complain, and don’t rock the boat, we can get ahead. Look out for number one.

The song expressed the anxieties of working-class youth only fit for menial jobs, to become part of the state’s repressive apparatus, or to join one of the many extreme right-wing and ultra violent groups.

“You grow up and you calm down
You’re working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown
You’re working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
You made your first kill now”

So, many, many thanks for the music and the memories Joe, and for giving this angry, aimlessly drifting young man the inspiration to find himself.

Rest In Perfect Peace Joe.

“Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn’t have any inherent wisdom. I quickly realised that you either became a power or you were crushed”

*Originally published on the Outlaw – December 22nd 2012*

10 Responses to HEY JOE (Revisted)

  1. OPND says:

    A fitting tribute to a truly great man and a personal hero of mine as well Jimmy. I was expecting the good Mr Mellor to feature among the ‘Outlaw Heroes’ here, but there is time enough to include him. (HINT)

    OPND as you know Jimmy, but we do slow down to smell the flowers occasionaly. 🙂

  2. Chuck Bonetti says:

    We saw a lot of this guy here in the US during the late 1980’s. A great loss to music and much missed. a fitting tribute you have written here Outlaw.

  3. OldGit says:

    SORRY FOR THE OFF-TOPIC AGAIN, BUT I MUST SAY THAT THE CLASH WERE AFTER MY TIME. IN MY YOUNGER DAYS THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ARTISTS WERE ALMA COGAN & CLIFF RICHARD.

    PAGE HAS 2 FILMS, EACH ABOUT AN HOUR & A HALF. I HAVEN’T WATCHED THEM BECAUSE I KNOW THIS STUFF ALMOST OFF BY HEART, BUT FOR THOSE NEW TO IT ALL, RECOMMENDED:-

    http://realcurrencies.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/two-brilliant-films-renaissance-2-0-financial-empire-princes-of-the-yen/

    “The necessary components of a successful Western bid to overthrow the Russian political order include a political front protesting in Russia’s major cities, as well as a full-spectrum economic war to put pressure on Russia’s population, increasing dissent as well as swelling the ranks of staged protests Wall Street and Washington put in Russian streets. Another necessary component includes armed components to act under cover of “peaceful protesters” to escalate street demonstrations, prevent security forces from restoring order, and to carry out the actual physical overthrow of these security forces.”

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-impending-russian-maidan.html

    “The end game objective is quite simple. It is the takedown of the United States from within, using multiple avenues of destruction, for the purpose of creating a system of global governance. This system of global governance will unite the world economies as well as the world’s religions under global Communism.”

    http://www.hagmannandhagmann.com/archives/1291

    Today KWN interviewed a man who has been uncovering critical information for 25 years who said “yes,” what Dr. Paul Craig Roberts told King World News is true, “Russia will unleash black swans against the West, but here is the scary part.”

    (O.G’S NOTE:A `BLACK SWAN’ IS AN EVENT SO RARE & UNEXPECTED THAT VIRTUALLY NO-ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED IT.IT COULD ALSO OCCUR AS A RESULT OF SOMEONE/PEOPLE DOING SOMETHING TO GET A HOPED-FOR RESULT BUT WHICH RESULTS IN AN OUTCOME THEY SIMPLY DID NOT PREDICT OR EXPECT AS POSSIBLE.):-

    http://kingworldnews.com/yes-russia-unleash-black-swans-west-scary-part/

  4. OldGit says:

    FROM THE LAND OF THE FREE.(YOU KNOW IT’S THE LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE IT SAYS SO IN THEIR NATIONAL ANTHEM.:-

    “Want to ship wine to Pennsylvania? It’s easy! Just “add a $4.50 handling fee, Pennsylvania’s 18% liquor tax, 6% sales tax (and 2% sales tax in Philadelphia or 1% Allegheny counties).” The state wants a cut of your purchase.”

    http://reason.com/archives/2014/12/20/pennsylvania-couple-seeks-return-of-wine

    FILE THIS UNDER “BONO IS AN EVIL MONEY-GRUBBING BASTARD”. NOT EXACTLY JOE STRUMMER,IS HE?

    (LINK TO ORIGINAL IS BROKEN):-

    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=108679

  5. OldGit says:

    JOE COCKER’S DIED. JUST GOT IT FROM HERE. SOME LINKS TO SOME OF HIS SONGS.:-

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3239910/posts

  6. Marcel says:

    Vivé le Joe Strummer

  7. OldGit says:

    ABOUT THAT PLUMBERS TRUCK IN SYRIA.Jim Stone and his followers have the best possible explanation:- IT WAS NEVER IN SYRIA!

    http://www.reactorbreach.com/showthread.php?tid=2900

    FOR THE COMPUTER NERDS:-

    http://blog.codinghorror.com/why-cant-programmers-program/

  8. touchstone says:

    Joe Strummer used the word ‘racist’ a lot to shut down nationalist debate.

    • Outlaw says:

      He did indeed.

      When I learned more about the way the world worked, I also discovered that some of Joe’s political idea’s were ‘naive’ to a degree.

      It did not detract from his music at all though, which is what will endure for me above everything else.

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