Posts Tagged ‘london’

Modern Art in 3,600 Seconds at the ICA

4 September 2012
David Batchelor's Christmas lights

See me at the ICA this week as part of Modern Art in 3,600 Seconds, where Will Gompertz will read from his book What Are You Looking At? and introduce guests including Prof Anne Massey, ICA boss Gregor Muir and artist David Batchelor.

  • 6 & 7 Sept / 19h00 / SW1Y 5AH
  • Image of David Batchelor’s Christmas lights on the South Bank

The London Olympic Zone

16 December 2011

I popped over to Pudding Mill Lane at the weekend to see the preparations for 2012. Here are some snaps, as a cheesy iMovie export:

The Clash’s London Calling for the BBC and NPR

28 July 2011

London punks

As the countdown to the 2012 Olympics kicks off with an unlikely theme song, I look London Calling and its zombies and heroin for the BBC.

“The Clash were supporters of pirate radio and considered launching their own station; this love song to the wireless signal recounts what, in punk terms, is up-to-the-minute and truthful news. But it isn’t saying ‘come and enjoy the canoe slalom’.”

Major hoorays to Marcus Gray’s Route 19 Revisited for the key fact that London Calling was originally inspired by Joe Strummer’s dislike of sports fans visiting London, as he explained to Kosmo Vinyl (Clash On Broadway box set booklet, 1991). Awkward [Update [1 Aug]: Praise be! Route 19 is imminently in paperback. There is nothing more interesting to say about 1979; I know – I tried! Buy it – it is The One.]

Sadly there was no space to mention Clash fan of Indian origin Harraj Mann, questioned in 2006 under the Terrorism Act after a taxi driver taking him to Heathrow airport became alarmed that he was listening to London Calling and called the police. The incident was seen as a massive overreaction, suggesting either that the song has lost its incendiary power, or that the authorities were being over-cautious – or both.

Also neglected was the way Strummer starts “doing” Tommy Steele’s Singing The Blues at the end (“I’ve never felt so much a-like…”), never better described than by Tom Ewing: “No consonant is safe with Steele around, words pool into one another in a shrugged gush of pre-meditated moodiness.”

Update [30 Jul]: Here is wireless nabob Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday yakking with me (see also NPR’s blog The Record):