London Calling

It’s the name of an album by The Clash, song title.

Imagine this, I’m in bed, a big queen-sized bed. Across the room there’s a High Definition (whatever slash whatever) flat-screen TV Big old thing. Plugged into a DVR hooked up to cable something or other. Whatever connected to whatever, small speakers pumping out analog surround sound.

It’s a special on the Clash. On PBS. About the revolution rockers. Across my chest, there’s blankets and smoothed out, docile, dormant figure next to me, while across my chest, there’s at least two remotes, one for the TV, one for the DVR. I’m fast-forwarding through some of the PBS Pledge Drive stuff. I own most of that music, some of it a more than twice, and I’m not interested in what the expert says, or the fact that the guy with long hair is pushing a special level of membership to PBS, for only (some figure here), not only do I get a Clash CD but a Clash DVD. It includes one of my favorite songs, The Magnificent Seven, live on the Tom Snyder Show, and I’m thinking, “Has it come to this?”

Watching old Clash footage, that really brings up points. Late seventies, early eighties, familiar material, no?

Punk, and then punk mixed with reggae? Although it’s several years old, and the actual influence is outwardly quite different from the Clash, in my opening video credits, that 20-second spot? I tend to include an image I took a couple of years ago, train into London, a certain abandoned power plant. London Calling.

The current image, me in a suburban bed, a Tivo control in hand, parsing the special on PBS about The Clash, a juxtaposition of sorts. An anomaly, of sorts. The non-commercial break which was as long as a standard commercial break, only with a slightly less focused message, I skipped through that. The set for the pledge drive, that was funny, trying to get that Rock the Casbah feeling. I think it failed. But I’ve been on a number of TV sets, and I understand the near-futile efforts of supporting the arts. I suggest one give to an arts organization.

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The more I thought about it, though, the more amused I was, that, in the most idyllic of sold out location, in the most “normal” of American scenes, there we are, watching revolutionary rock.

Is the message lost? After all, one of the points I’ve written about before is the fact that I use a sound byte (several kilobytes) of a Clash song as a legally purchased ringtone. In 20-30 years, have we come to this? The guy with the long hair comes back on to finish his pitch.

Yeah, trust the guy with the long hair. Uh-huh.

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