80049445_2753975768001450_2790020960323895296_nOver the last year or so I have found myself musing on the thought that surely in such a dark age, in the face of widening social divides and entrenched, broken political debate that there would be more music being made echoing the thoughts of those looking to kick back. I often point out that rock ‘n’ roll, punk, hip-hop and the like were all born out of frustration and social change, disaffection and rage. I would have written something on the matter for this site bit I have just read an elegant and eloquent post by that splendid chap Scott Rowley and so thought I’d post his words in full instead. Thank you for putting into language what is confusing my small brain these days.

“It’s impossible to imagine the world of December 14th, 1979, when London Calling was released but let’s give it our best shot.

Imagine if you will a Britain where right wing politics is on the rise. Where the rock revolution you were a part of has become insular, hell-bent on repeating itself and recycling the past. Where the charts are full of novelty pop and the TV full of Yankee detectives.

A world where the working class are under attack: the victim of right wing policies designed to take from the poor and give to the rich. Where they’re either denounced as knuckle-headed thugs or romanticised as noble savages living in squalor, and the political choice offered them is between England-for-the-English nationalism or up-the-workers socialism. A world in which immigration is blamed for all our ills and families who’ve lived here for decades – whose culture (language, music, cuisine) has totally influenced, informed and improved “British culture” – are under attack.

Their sons and daughters represent our country in sports – they are our greatest football players, but still there is racism on the terraces. The Labour Party is split – low in the opinion polls after their last time in government and riven by internal conflicts. Anew controversial figure has become Prime Minister. Scotland wants independence. There is civil unrest.

That was 1979. It’s a world so radically different to our country today you can scarcely imagine it, right? But c’mon, give it yer best shot.

London Calling is the sound of The Party At The End of the World. The title track itself looked at a forthcoming environmental apocalypse (“the ice age is coming”) – and said, “Fuckin bring it on.” (‘London is drowning and I live by the river…’). Joe Strummer later said that he was most proud of the fact that The Clash weren’t “Little Englanders”. The dirty punks wanted Oi! The Clash gave them soul, reggae, rock’n’roll, R&B.

Encouraged by producer Guy Stevens (as head of Sue records, he’d introduced the likes of Ike and Tina Turner, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Inez and Charlie Foxx to the UK. He’d produced Free, named Procol Harum and formed Mott and he produced like Jurgen Klopp manages – the boys just wanted to play for him.

He generated team spirit. They literally played football every day. Stevens would play war films in the background while they recorded and smash chairs jubilantly.

Train In Vain grooves like classic soul. Guns Of Brixton conjures up genuine London reggae. Rudie Can’t Fail was ska-punk in excelsis. The Right Profile, Revolution Rock, I’m Not Down – the songs on London Calling are a righteous, raucous rave-up.

We need music like that more than ever.”

With great thanks to Scott Rowley.