Here's the original and much extended draft of a piece I wrote on The Clash which appeared in the February 2023 issue of Perspective Magazine.
Sometimes, when I am introducing myself, I say that my life was never quite the same after seeing The Clash. This is of course nonsense - like most or our self-made narratives - but it is serves as a useful shorthand to convey that I am of the punk rock generation, that I like a certain grittiness to my music, that I am political and that I have a rebellious streak. Most of all, I hope that it signals that I am definitely not be mistaken for a hippy, despite being a bona fide whale hugger.
Of course, The Clash were not above a certain amount of self-mythologising themselves: in fact, they were not embarrassed.to trade under the tag line of ‘the only band that matters’ – a conceit that is perhaps second only to the Rolling Stones’ boast of being the ‘world’s greatest rock’n’roll band’.
Seeing The Clash for the first time did not really deliver an epiphany but it was significant - a marker of sorts. In October 1981, I was eighteen,