By Paul Sillett
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The Clash

This article is over 13 years, 2 months old
The Clash, Atlantic Books, £30
Issue 330

What differentiates this book from being a stylish coffee table tome is that this is the band in their own words. Paul Simonon’s wife, Tricia Ronane, with others, has put it together tastefully. Fans will recognise some of the material, but this brings it all home.

For old timers memories will flood back, and for fresher compadres a real sense of the excitement (and dread) of the late 1970s jumps from the page.

A quarter of a century on, the music and lyrics are as relevant and prophetic as ever. Like all great art it seems timeless.

There’s excellent reportage of their commitment to anti-racism in the book, a la Rock Against Racism – something they’ve maintained up to Love Music Hate Racism today.

Band members tell wistfully how they were often ahead of early fans in their openness to new music. The Clash were global well before “world music”.

The book contains many stunning snapshots, often revealing the group “remembering what it was like to be a fan”, letting bods in backstage for free and opening hotel rooms to all and sundry.

Something often missed is the band’s humour, which is rectified here. Joe’s words were often a heady brew of commentary and off the wall wit. Nearly six years on from his untimely death his absence is incredibly palpable.

Buy this for a friend, turn up the volume and let’s a get a bit a rockin’!

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