Kevin Shields has raised the notion that Britpop was part of a government conspiracy. Speaking to the Guardian in an exclusive interview (…) the My Bloody Valentine leader reacted angrily to a mention of the Cool Britannia phenomenon.
“Britpop was massively pushed by the government,” he said. “Someday it would be interesting to read all the MI5 files on Britpop. The wool was pulled right over everyone’s eyes there.”
Need I add — don’t miss the laugh-out-loud hilarious comments:
“State funded parkas! Our taxes being used to pay for Phil Daniels’ cock-er-nee tones! Legalised sardonic northerners! A whole government department dedicated to perfecting the terrace singalong!”
“The greatest [rock and roll anecdote] I ever heard also involves Primal Scream. When they were on the Screamadelica tour in Australia Hugo Nicholson disappeared whilst off his nut and was discovered trying to find the steering wheel of the Sydney Opera House.”
“Probably the most famous one about Primal Scream is the one where they refused to land at Luton Airport because it wasn’t rock n roll enough.”
“Has anyone said anything about Sleeper cells?”
“I’m fascinated by the end of the 60s – so many events coincided within such a short space of time to kill off the counter-culture circa 1970 vis multiple music star deaths, the incredibly spooky Manson murders right at/from the heart of Hippydom, Altamont, the Beatles split… It’s too much to cram into a conspiracy theory but too synchronistic to dismiss as coincidence. It’s like some dark force moved in.”
Speaking of drugs, etc.: a reader of my PJM “Joe Strummer 9/11” post sent a link to a couple of Redemption Time related articles.
(It’s nice to learn that Mick was suitably “appalled” by Joe’s Red Bridage shirt.)
Anyhow, I laughed at this bit but felt kind of bad when I did for some reason:
[O]n their first Japanese tour he and Jones burst into tears when the promoter arrived to tell them that their expected delivery of marijuana had not arrived.
Also, Joe Strummer made Ray Charles look like Tim Tebow. (I’ll let actual shrinks ponder the loudly anti-Nazi Strummer’s preference for taller-than-him Nordic blondes…)
Strummer returned to his hotel with one of Kid Creole’s Coconuts using the far from subtle chat up line “you’re a woman, I’m a man, you know what I want.” (…)
Strummer undoubtedly met his match when he told Clash bassist Paul Simonon that he had to divorce his then wife Pearl Harbour – or leave the band. Singer Pearl was at London’s Heathrow airport to meet Strummer when he arrived back from American tour. To the amusement of an onlooking policewoman she set about kicking Strummer with her cowboy boots. But the next day Joe took her out on a pub-crawl, proudly showing anyone who cared to look, the scars she had inflicted. “Then he took off my high heel shoes, poured champagne and drank it,” says Pearl.
Although Strummer went to some length to conceal his affair with actress Danielle Von Zerneck he was less cautious about other flings. He boasted to regulars at a West London pub that he had had sex with an estate agent who had come to value the flat he shared with Gaby and the children “Estate agents always f**k us, I bet you’ve never met anyone who has f**ked an estate agent, ” he boasted.
That’s the drugs. Now the sex. With a band as famously considerate of their fans and supportive of female equality as the Clash, you’d expect something a little better than standard rock piggery… but Joe was an enthusiastic sampler of groupie wares. OK, so no-one’s naïve about the lifestyle of musicians on the road, but it seems he couldn’t even keep it in his pants while on home turf. He was always trying it on with friend’s girlfriends and wives, successfully with Don Letts’ long-term partner Jeanette Lee (Don was letting him a room in his house at the time) …
More poignantly, Joe was frequently unfaithful to his partner of 14 years, Gaby, both before and after the birth of their two daughters. On one occasion, he slept with the female estate agent who’d come to price their Ladbroke Grove house, and then boasted about it to his friends down the pub. Funny, yeah… for everyone but Gaby. Joe also began his relationship with wife-to-be Luce while he was still living with Gaby, and while Luce was still married to her first husband.
And of course, he boinked Topper’s girlfriend.
Strummer’s penchant for reinvention and self-mythologizing probably led him to do lots of stuff — drugs, sex, cultivating strong bonds with the fans — as if to just make it through another day of “not getting caught” — that is, revealed as a phony or a hypocrite.
He had enough of a conscience (and/or capacity for shame) to be troubled by his transformation into the kind of limousine socialist rock star he’d so publicly mocked in the beginning — but not enough to stop acting like one for good. Although in fairness he lost his chance prematurely.
As for me, I know how “battered wife”y I sound but I’ve said before that there are certain artists I couldn’t or can’t bring myself to hate or dismiss entirely.
It has nothing to do with facts or logic, because this is art and not politics. It’s all what I just read Anthony Bourdain call “deep tissue” stuff which is as good a description as any.
I’ve spent far more happy and productive hours “with” Joe Strummer than my dad, so.