The Clash - Camden
34 images Created 26 May 2012
Up on London's Chalk Farm road and inside todays bustling trendy Camden Lock market, the old stables can still be seen tastefully integrated into the Proud Gallery's club and bar. Back in early 1977 it was all very different. The disused and dilapidated two-storey end terrace railway storage shed that housed infamous Rehearsal Rehearsals has now been completely integrated into a continuously redeveloping market with tourists as the target market. What remained of the original market was burnt to the ground during the 2008 Camden Market fire. A fire that also destroyed the famous Hawley Arms a favorite haunt and inspiration to the late Amy Winehouse.%0AOn a cold grey 1977 punky London afternoon I arrived at Rehearsal Rehearsals, an urban squat littered with old barbers chairs, collapsed sofas, empty beer cans and food containers, bits of wire everywhere, piles of rubbish, a jukebox and Paul Simonon tearing from room to room firing his bb gun at anything or anyone that moved. It was in this hazardous environment, inside this urban war zone, I found myself with instructions to take some photographs of The Clash.%0AIt was the first time I had met the band. Described to me by the press officer at the CBS Soho square headquaters, as a "Punk" band and as such difficult and unpredictable. Apparently I had been asked because of my Jamaica track record and possibly because of my generally dishevelled and scruffy appearance. Perhaps they thought I would blend in more. At the time I didn't quite understand why Jamaica was relevant. This bunch of council-estate art-student angry white boys. What connection could they possibly have with tropical sunny colourful Jamaica, with their aggressive raw power punkrock, their urban anarchy and drab black combat gear. But of course, as I was later to discover, the Clash and Jamaican Music had always been deeply intertwined.%0ASo .. the photosession went ahead, bullets flying, with none of the band prepared to sit in any one place for more than a few seconds, charging around, revolution for the hell of it, more anarchy. It was like I was holed up in this bombed out building with a lightly armed bunch of musicians waiting for world war three to start on the streets of London. It was all over in 30 minutes, and i was safely out of this surreal war zone. %0AMaybe London's Burning didn't happen then, but it certainly did decades later. Early in 2011 not long after the Clash exhibition at the Proud Gallery had closed, fires and riots unfolded all over London. Anarchy was back in fashion. I guess not much has changed. The bands message seems as valid now as it was then, just with a new more savvy generation of young, disenfranchised, jobless, ripped off, betrayed young people.