Joe Strummer and Jim Jarmusch, 1989
There are certain people who personify the glamour of a certain time and place. This photo of Joe Strummer and Jim Jarmusch was taken in the 1989. Stranger than Paradise made Jarmusch’s reputation in 1984, wrote Ryan Gilbey in The Guardian, “back when ‘indie’ really did mean ‘independent’ rather than ‘the boutique arm of a major studio’”. How right he is. In 1989, The Clash days were over, but a decade after the release of one of the best albums of all time, London Calling, Joe Strummer was still making music and what he had already given the world was so great and he would go on making good music culminating, tragically, with his last album, Streetcore, with his post-Clash band, The Mescaleros (the album was half-finished at the time of his passing away, in 2002). “Here’s an album that conveys who this guy was. He had a punk dimension, a Woody Guthrie dimension, a reggae dimension, and his lyrics found an Englishman’s view of America somewhere between John Ford’s and Allen Ginsberg’s,” wrote Ben Ratliff in The New York Times.
I like that this photo is from the eighties from another reason, too. Joe and Jim had been friends from the beginning of the 1980s and Joe even appeared in Mystery Train (1989). “When did I first meet Joe? In the early Eighties. Lots of mutual friends, especially in New York. I also met Mick and Paul, who I remain friends with, and Don Letts, who I’m a godfather to his children. I love Joe so much, I’m still mad at him for being gone. Apparently with his heart condition, he could have gone at any moment in his life. When you think what that guy left and gave to us all, it’s staggering. What an amazing gift he was,” Jarmusch remembered his friend in an interview for Uncut magazine in 2014.
And last, the photo above was what gave the tone to and set the mood for this month’s playlist. It is not however dedicated to Jim Jarmusch’s film soundtracks (I have already done that here). As usual, these happen to be the songs I have been listening to lately.
But first, a few side notes: Jim Jarmusch’s latest film, The Dead Don’t Die, will open this year’s Festival de Cannes, which has just released its official poster paying tribute to Agnès Varda. I am yet to watch Jarmusch’s documentary about Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Gimme Danger, and I am planning to watch The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man, another documentary, these days – it was not directed by Jim Jarmusch, but Bill Murray has appeared in four of the fimmaker’s movies (have you read Heidi Wellington’s beautiful piece written for Classiq Journal about her favourite movie experience starring the same inimitable Bill Murray?).
1.Gimme Danger, Iggy Pop and The Stooges / 2.Long Shadow, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros / 3.These Days, Camille O’Sullivan / 4.Chaos from the Top Down, Stereophonics / 5.Drunken Lullabies, Flogging Molly / 6.Gambling Bar Room Blues, John Mellencamp / 7.Placebo ft. David Bowie, Without You I’m Nothing / 8.Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd / 9.Old Time Rock n Roll, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band / 10.Moondance, Van Morrison / 11.Astral Plane, The Modern Lovers / 12.Year of the Cat, Al Stewart /
13.Love Is All You Love, Band of Skulls / 14.Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash / 15.Golden Haze, Wild Nothing / 16.Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple / 17.I Put a Spell on You, Creedence Clearwater Revival / 18.Coma Girl, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros