Monday, September 24, 2007


Joe Strummer - The Future Is Unwritten

D: Julian Temple 2007

Ok, lets get the luggage out the way first…I am biased… I do not think that Joe Strummer created heaven and earth and everything inbetween… I also think julian temple is an overrated, undertalented git who’s main claim to fame is basically his ‘friends’. He was in the right place at the right time. And actually so was Joe. At least this film does reveal some of his foibles and doesn’t always paint him as Saint Joe creator of punk rock, the universe and everything but it comes close sometimes. So we’ve got that out the way lets get on with the review…

Joe Strummer it turns out was really a middle class white kid who’s main gripe seems to be that his parents put him into a boarding school! Sure they aint great places to be in but the little fucker had already traveled the globe as a tacker with his diplomat father so what was his problem? I think it was really because he was a bully in school so he had to come up with some sort of ‘cover’ for his behaviour. Oh whoa is me, I’m in a boarding school while my dad the diplomat travels the world and I had to bully other kids to protect myself… fuck off ya git! So then he gets out goes strolling across the country and ends up squatting in London.

You get the feeling thought that Strummer (or Woody as he was in the hippie folk days) wasn’t squatting because he needed to, it was just the ‘done’ thing. He’d already roamed the country side being a troubador, squatting was next and then wow , this punk thing seems like the go – new name, new mates (and ditch the old friends rather harshly) and off for a jolly jaunt as a punk rocker! And though he moans about making it big in America – he wanted to crack the US in the first place so what was his problem? Simple solution, don’t go there to make it big then you wouldn’t have had to worry about all that money and fame (and oh that we should all have that problem). Really he’s revealed as a bloody hippie, a spoiled little white boy, a school bully and a bit of a moaner. And its always someone else’s fault.

And now I’ve got the moaning out the way I’ll say hey some of this weren’t bad – I like The Clash (‘specially the first two albums and even London Calling though it aint the motherlode everyone says it is) and there is some great footage, some early history, some good interviews… pity about bono and flea claiming that the clash inspired them to form their own bands (for giving us U2 and Red Hot Chilli Peppers Strummer should be burning in hell right now!!! Instead of being held up as some sort o’ holy leader. ) but he can’t have known that was going to happen can he? And its funny to see some of the faces looking old and fat now…so much for live fast die young leave a good looking corpse!

So anyway if you’re a fan of the band or the man or the era you’ll probably enjoy this – it’s a lot like Temple’s sex pistols flick, lots of clips and cleverness and soundbites and aren’t we clever sods but it’s a night out I guess. Though I’d rather just get drunk and listen to the records.

Oh and for you new kids – no the clash didn’t invent punk rock but they did make it more commercial.



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