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The Clash: New Year’s Day ’77 Reviewed

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Saint Strummer

BBC4 is getting hip this month and  showing some odd footage of ‘the only band that matters’….

1976 was a crap year for the UK but what the hell did I know I was 10 years old and living in suburban Connecticut in the USofA.  Between riots and jobless poverty the Dickens vision of Ol’ Blighty wasn’t too far off.. but from that mayhem rose the punk movement.  Thanks Thatcher and all you royals for getting shit fired up.

This semi documentary is based around preparations for The Clash’s New Years Day performance at The Roxy, in London’s Covent Gardens.  Covent being a former market turned ghost town with a history so deep its fascinating.  Its evolution from market and center for arts to a thug filled red light district is well shown in this hour plus footage.  Shown also are clips of the time from interview with Maggie T as well as a splattering of New Years celebrations from around Great Britain.  The Roxy was a former cruisers gay bar dream the club was up for rent for anyone with a pound and would showcase one of the best shows ever.  A 2 set gig by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon…….and a drummer.  I don’t want to spoil the fun for you.

The interview portions of the show are fabulous with a very young, very blonde Strummer spewing the beliefs he carried through his entire life.  Those poetic words of social justice and determination.  A wonderful glimpse and explanation to to tunes such as “White Riot” and “Career Opportunities” with footage to back the strife that made these songs happen- and why they ring so true even to this day.  Apparently Joe took alot of notes– seems about right.

I honestly thought I would get a bit melancholy in watching it or bored but just the opposite happened .  The mixing of history and music worked so incredibly well that I was  actually able to sit still through the entire program- and that is a rarity for someone with the extreme ADD I seem to posses.  FYI there’s more punk for your buck (and its free) with nods to The Slits and The Jam (say what!) and Siouxsie Sioux … yep not kiddin.  Oh and plenty of Sex Pistols including some adorable footage from Sid not covered in snot and blood and looking almost healthy.

Clash fan?  Watch it now.  Anglophile?  Yep same thing— just ‘wish you were there… youre literally there.

And here- cuz rocknyc loves you is the link to watch it outside the UK. Youre welcome and Happy New Year

 

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