Hispanic dude in pro-Palestinian t-shirt sings “Guns of Brixton”:
GUNS OF Brixton could be the very zenith of the kind of ‘wiggerism’ many Clash critics point to in their criticisms of the band, and perhaps rightly so. Bass player Paul Simonon gets a chance to live his roots reggae dreams of outlawism in a cod Jamaican accent while telling a story of police lifting a bandito in the far off flung climes of Brixton.
“The Guns of Brixton” proved to be one of the most instantly contentious songs on the album. In his Sounds review of London Calling Garry Bushell found it “truly embarrassing… Simonon’s limp vocals gracing a feeble reggae setting for more of the Clash’s degenerating “guns and gangs” outlaw vision — lumpen lyrical fantasy world populated by druggies, crooks, gambling dens, dingy basements and gun-toting niggers.”
Nine years after London Calling’s release, Joe claimed that, by persuading Paul to sing his own song, he had deliberately distanced himself from what he knew would be a problematic issue. Apparently, he hadn’t really approved of the sentiments of the song either, but had not felt it was his place to censor other band members’ lyrics: “‘The Guns of Brixton’ was Paul’s song. I had a go at him about that,” he told the NME’s Sean O’Hagen in 1988. “I said, ‘Here, how would you like to get shot, eh?’ And he said, ‘I don’ care.’ So I said, ‘Fair enough.’ Can’t really argue with that, really.”
UPDATE — Thanks to the loyal 5FF reader who alerted me to some broken code in a previous post, which should have included this video…