Flashback: The Clash Rock Against Racism in 1978

The Clash – White Riot Live (1978 Victoria Park London)

Taken from the film Rude Boy

 

In August 1976 a heavily intoxicated Eric Clapton blurted out some very unfortunate remarks onstage at the Birmingham Odeon in England. “England is overcrowded,” he said. “I think we should send them all back.” He went on to add that England was in danger of becoming a “black colony.” Around the same time, David Bowie caused an even greater uproar when he shared some surprising political beliefs. “I believe very strongly in fascism,” he told Playboy. “The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that’s hanging foul in the air. . .is a right-wing totally dictatorial tyranny. . .Rock stars are fascists, too. Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars.”

Blondie: Success And Sexism

Debbie-Harry-contact-sheet-by-Chris-Stein

AS BLONDIE, THE BAND turn 40 and, against all odds, prepare to release their 10th studio album, Ghosts Of Download, singer Debbie Harry relives the trial-by-chauvinism endured by the post-punk icon who made the mistake of being both female and attractive.

As the group first crawled from the New York Bowery’s punk scene at the end of the 1970s to beam their transcendental pop to millions, the reaction of their hometown peers was not universally supportive. In a burst of misogyny not atypical of the milieu, legendary New York-based rock scribe Lester Bangs wrote of Harry: “She may be there all high and mighty on TV, but everybody knows that underneath all that fashion plating she’s just a piece of meat like the rest of them.”

In an exclusive interview that graces the cover of the new MOJO magazine (street date: Tuesday, March 25), Harry relates how she was initially traumatised by the flak.

“Y’know, I have to say, I got smart,” she tells MOJO’s Tom Doyle. “After the first touring experience and the first real criticism we got, I actually hid under the covers for a couple of weeks. Then after that I just didn’t read it. It was too upsetting and I was too unused to it. It didn’t do me any good in performance because I would be on-stage and all of a sudden one of those lines would flash and completely destroy my focus and concentration and make me not enjoy it. It’s a matter of opinion. There’s no accounting for taste, so f**k ’em! Poor Lester was so confused. He was definitely part of the male conspiracy.”

In a sparky Q&A augmented by exclusive unseen photographs from the archive of Blondie songwriter and guitarist Chris Stein (see above), Harry reveals how she dealt with the group’s early-’80s crash, mixed reactions to her solo albums, and her much-mythologised “retirement” as she nursed boyfriend Stein through a debilitating immunity illness…

“All of that stuff has been totally misconstrued,” Harry bristles. “It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I set the record straight. It was a very difficult time. All I can say is that I did move on in the mid ’80s and I started doing a series of solo albums which Chris wrote on and helped me with. I did not give up my career. I had a lot of tours and I had some smaller hits. I really think that there’s some great material on those solo albums that I feel to a degree has been overlooked.”

Elsewhere she recalls being hit on by Iggy and Bowie and immortalised by Andy Warhol. Despite the knocks, she declares herself satisfied with Blondie’s place in musical history and a life “being blindly drawn like a moth to a flame.”

“I can make a long list of things I would do differently,” she tells MOJO, winningly. “But if I were actually thrown back there, I’d probably do it all the same.”

MOJO’s Blondie issue hits the shelves in the UK on Tuesday, March 25. Watch out for in-depth features on David Bowie’s 1974 transformation from glam icon to soul boulevardier, Jake Bugg’s irresistible rise and Al Kooper’s portfolio of pop prestidigitation. Damon Albarn, Terry Hall, Jeff Beck, Ben Watt, Pixies, Metronomy, Slint and Death Disco – a free 15-track CD of post-punk greats – also await.

Brian Eno – 1971-1977: The Man Who Fell to Earth

About the Film:

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“…wisely sidesteps the trappings of the Behind the Music-style music doc(s) and instead focuses on the music itself.” – Derek Smith, Tiny Mix Tapes

Brian Eno: musician, composer, producer, music theorist, singer and visual artist. Probably best known for his early work with Roxy Music, his production duties for U2 and Coldplay and as one of the principal innovators of ambient music. This first-ever documentary film about Eno explores his life, career and music between the years 1971 and 1977, the period that some view as his golden age. Featuring numerous exclusive interviews, contributions from a range of musicians, writers, collaborators and friends, plus performance and studio film and an abundance of the most exceptional music ever created.

About the film

It comes as something of a surprise that only now are we being offered a brian eno SIDVD00_sleeve.inddfeature-length documentary about one of the most influential musicians and producers of modern pop. The artist, whose full name is Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, is captured in this 2 1/2-hour chronicle during the Seventies, namely the era he “invented” ambient music, played with Roxy Music, was in contact with Nico and former members of The Velvet Underground, cultivated his androgynous image and produced David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy. Thanks to archive footage and testimonies from a colourful array of people in the business, we’re not given the Eno legend, but instead a reconstruction of an electrifying era. Eno is fully active to this day, producing U2 and Coldplay among others, a part of his career not included in this film, however.

Colour, DIGIBETA
United Kingdom, 2011, 154 min
Section: 2012: A Musical Odyssey

Directed by: Ed Haynes
Editor: Ed Haynes
Production: Sexy Intellectual Records
Contakt: Pavel Klusák
Starring: Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Robert Fripp, Robert Christgau, Jon Hassell, Percy Jones, Hans Joachim Roedelius, Brian Turrington, David Sheppard a další /and others

BBC News – Mystery of the man who fell to earth

Published on Jun 12, 2013

In September 2012, a man in his twenties was found dead in Portman Avenue, a suburban street in west London. He had suffered horrendous injuries to his head and face, but had no identity papers on him – and no one had reported him missing. It soon became clear that the man must have fallen from a plane flying overhead on to the street below. Rob Walker has been following the police investigation into who he was and how he arrived on Portman Avenue. It is a story that spans two continents and eight countries.

Video journalist: Andy Brownstone
You can hear more about this story on the BBC World Service Assignment programme