23 05 2007
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first let me admit that i am not the biggest Clash fan in the world. the only album of theirs that i own is Sandinista! the only reason I have that album is because my brother-in-law and i were hanging out in Tahoe last Christmas hung over as hell one morning with nothing to do, so we decided to swap our iTunes libraries. I’ve actually never listened to the entire double cd, I get about halfway through it and turn it off in favor of something a little… better, interesting, inspired (take your pick on any of these). that being said, however, I do love the Clash, their message, their music (save most of Sandinista!) and even Joe Strummer’s post-Clash solo projects, which is why, when Faber and Faber decided to publish Redemption Song, I requested a review copy and also an interview request with author Chris Salewicz.
only I didn’t count on receiving a book that is basically Chris Salewicz’s version of Sandinista!.
I’m stalled at page 108 and I’m probably not going to get any further unless I’m bed ridden for a good two months. a hundred pages, I believe, means that I’ve given the book a fairly good opportunity to show me its best licks, impress me with its chops, in short to make me want to keep reading.
I know that Salewicz was very close to Strummer and therefore has made it his mission with this book to put all and any false stories or rumors about Joe to rest. the juicy details that every biography should have seem to be missing in favor of casting Joe in a good light. for a dedicated Clash fan, that may be great, but as a casual listener, I don’t care about most of that. also, I find in every biography I read that the minute details of the subjects youth (21 and younger) are interminably boring. Joe wasn’t saving starving African children when he was 15, he was just being a kid doing things that kids do, like throwing rocks at cats and wondering what boobs look like, so give me the broad overview. I had to skip to nearly page 200 (of a 600+ page book! (which is another gripe, six hundred fucking pages?)) to get to where the Clash was beginning its ascent into punk rock stardom. two hundred pages of waiting is just too much to ask of a reader.