THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN.
Julien Temple's endlessly moving tribute to the late, great Joe Strummer has to be one of the most important releases in 2007.
Moving through his globe-trotting formative years - from Turkey and Cairo to boarding school in England ("A school where people hung themselves") - THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN unearths a terrible personal tragedy before moving onto the roots of Strummer's musical career.
Art School Rock with a band called The Vultures sowed the seeds for his first major band, pub rockers The 101'ers whose single 'Keys To Your Heart' still makes me want to get up and move. Soon, this not-so tiny acorn blossomed into a bigger and better league with a mighty oak called The Clash; a band who changed many lives with their music and lyrics.
Here, those monumental live gigs are recalled with meaty footage of a band on fire: 'Career Opportunities', 'London's Burning', 'What's My Name' and other choice cuts are presented here via concert and rehearsal footage, confirming their reputation as a high octane act.
Temple's film is punctuated by great live music, and input from the world of cinema and music: Scorsese, Matt Dillon, Steve Buscemi and Johnny Depp stand in line to pay tribute, but it's Bono and Courtney Love who make the most telling contributions: the former declaring "The words of Joe Strummer were like an atlas", while Love tearfully recalls the time when Joe and his wife took her in and treated her like their daughter.
There are many more emotional sights and sounds from these great campfire tales. The sight of poor old 'Topper' Headon in particular, brought a mighty lump to my throat, but perhaps one of the saddest things of all is to witness again how the band fell apart. Did they really turn into the people they tried to destroy? Why were they so hated for making it in America? Perhaps many of their critics wanted them to stay in their 'Safe European Home' and churn out multiple retreads of that amazing debut album, and couldn't or wouldn't accept the glories of 'Sandanista'.
The last time I saw The Clash in concert was at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester. By that time, Strummer was flanked by two members of Bristol punk band The Cortinas, and sporting his De Niro Taxi Driver haircut. Sure, we kidded ourselves it was a good gig but, deep down, we knew The Clash were no more. They had gone. Forever.
My final live encounter with Joe was at a Pogues gig at Rock City, Nottingham where he strode onstage to deliver a blistering version of 'London Calling' and then he was gone.
Joe Strummer passed away 22nd December 2002, and the news of his passing ruined my Christmas.
He's still with us though. People like Joe never really die. They just go away for a while, re-appearing whenever their music is played.
THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN brings him back again, deepening our respect and admiration. Expect a review of the wonderful Clash film, RUDE BOY in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading the opening post in my new blog. I'll be delving into the worlds of cinema, music and books to the best of my limited ability. I have virtually zero knowledge of computer know-how so I hope you'll forgive any failings and also hope you'll enjoy reading my posts.
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