In a previous life, before I was a grumpy old man, I was a spotty youth, trying to find a life in the mean streets of Glenrothes. It was here I would rush to the local newsagents to get my copy of Sounds and New Musical Express to see what was going on in the music world. I was an avid fan of almost everything that the UK and USA could throw at my ears with a few exceptions : Nolan Sisters and Sydney Devine ( my parents were fans).
My go to band however was The Clash. The first album I must admit was not a favourite but Give Em Enough Rope then London Calling were game changers.
London Calling was my favourite including the iconic cover:
This photo by Pennie Smith of Paul Simenon smashing his bass after a gig at the Palladium in New York catches the dynamism of the band. Technically imperfect, and shot on 35mm black and white film, captures a rawness that you don't really see with bands today. I mean, when did you last check out album/CD covers?
London Calling is still a regular on my CD player ( I lost all my vinyl years ago)
I saw the Clash several times but the first time was in Dunfermline Kinema, I was still at school and I went with school friends Never forget that concert, the lights went down, then it got dark with people muttering and shouting, it stayed pitch black for ages with people sparking lighters, then this noise started deep and rhythmic, a train coming down the track louder and louder, faster and faster and boom.
London calling to the faraway towns
and the place exploded People lost shoes, bags, clothes........ The Clash put an intelligence into the anger of punk and it always touched me.
Pennie Smith toured with the Clash and is still a working photographer today. She hardly ever exhibits and I can't find a website anywhere.