Influential Albums – Day 6

The Clash – S/T (US version)

I wish I knew where I heard The Clash for the first time. I got this on cassette – that was the format I used pretty much exclusively at the time – in California, I think at Tower Records in San Francisco. I was in 9th grade and my family was in SF for a conference my dad was involved in. I guess I heard something off London Calling, maybe had even gotten it at that point? Anyway, I love The Clash and this one totally struck a chord with me. Loud, raw, catchy. I know the lyrics are a very important part of the band, but to be perfectly honest, I’m a melody man. A song’s got to have a great hook and music to pull me in. I’ll incorrectly sing the words to songs for years. I am a serial lyric mishearer. So, again, I know the lyrics to The Clash are super important to whole thing of The Clash, but at the same time, so were their looks. They were calculatedly put together by the band. That has nothing to do with anything other than make me feel like less lame for not fully committing myself to the lyrics.

My dad did not understand or like my punk rock inclinations. I did not understand his disdain for it. To me, there were a lot of comparisons between the early, original rock ‘n roll he turned me on to and bands like The Clash. They even covered, “I Fought the Law”, not on this album, but nonetheless. Three chords, catchy songs, brazen attitude. It seemed synonymous to me. I get it now. Punk rock was an affront to a lot he held near and dear and I’m sure had he heard, “I’m So Bored With the USA”, he would have been none too pleased.

My favorite tracks from this one are – again, no certain order – “Police and Thieves”, “Garageland” (Gehr-aj), “Hate and War”, and “Career Opportunities

A podcast I listen to – and you should too – “The Great Albums Podcast” did one on London Calling not long ago and it was great. I was unaware that Joe Strummer wrote most of the songs, whether it was he or Mick Jones that sung. The Clash always did great covers, too. They could have put out an album of just their covers and it would have been great. The hosts of The Great Albums talk about how The Clash always make the covers they do their own, and it’s totally true. As mentioned earlier, “I Fought the Law” (Bobby Fuller Four version) could totally come from the pen and paper of a young, British punk rocker.

Not seeing The Clash play live is something I am sad about. I don’t know if the band would have gotten back together had Joe Strummer not died. Their induction into the R ‘n R Hall of Fame – who are those sharped dressed, hair slicked down men? – was interesting to see. I don’t know if Joe would have been part of that or not. He had moved away from punk rock as he got older, but he was still revolutionary. Mick Jones moved away from punk too with Big Audio Dynamite. I read somewhere that Joe was up for playing, but he died shortly before their induction. Damn.

The documentary on The Clash (there are several, but I really liked this one) and Joe Strummer are both worth watching. Go get your punk rock on and listen to The Clash.

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These Things. THESE THINGS!!!!

So this guy, this cyclist, goes whizzing between two lanes of cars today as I’m on my way to the doctor and it made me kind of mad  really pissed me off.  I wanted to yell, “You’re the reason so many of us motorists hate cyclists!” but he was gone, and I’m trying to keep my fits of rage down to one a month, and there’s still a whole half of August left. So I have decided to do a Grumpy Man Post and give you a Top Ten Some Things Currently Annoying Me. 
[On a positive note, I couldn’t even come up with 10, so that’s good, right?]

1. Cyclists who think that the road is for their sole use.  I have friends who bike and I understand their desire/need to have space on the road.  There have been countless biking tragedies, and I don’t want that to happen to anyone else, but inevitably it will. I’ve written already about the thing cyclists do when they go through stop signs (“can’t break our momentum!”), but then there’s the move this ass did today: biking through two lanes of traffic.  Honestly, when they pass me on the right it kind of frustrates me because they’re moving and I’m sitting still, but it really comes down to the school rule of “No Cutting!” Of course after this guy goes between the cars, and we’re on Ponce de Leon heading toward Decatur by the way! After he goes between the cars he totally slows traffic down having to pedal up a hill.  The driver behind him was much more patient than many people would have been. Again, I will restate my claim that cyclists wearing their Cyclists Outfits are closer to Super Villains than Logo Sporting Bike Enthusiasts.

2. Imbecilic higher ups that are in charge of running things that are incapable of doing an even slightly good job because, well, because they’re imbeciles. Gah! I’d go on about this, but I don’t want to bring any trouble.

3. Puppy Pee & Poop.  We got a puppy recently. No, not Marley who made my good Top 10 list this Spring, but a puppy.  Padfoot is her name, and she is not on my bad list. Her waste; however, is.  Dammit, man, I don’t like cleaning up pee and poop in the house and apparently this is going to go on for 9 more months.  9 MORE MONTHS!!!!!


4. These damn mosquitoes! I can’t step outside with the puppy to keep number three from happening without coming away with three or more bites.  We pay a monthly service for our yard to be sprayed.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if we weren’t getting the yard sprayed.  Stinking blood sucking parasitic nuisances is what they are.

5. Presidential Election Politics.  Both parties are in the pockets of special interest groups that don’t have the best interests of the Country. Regardless of your political bent, the presidential election typically brings out people’s inner asshole, and quite frankly, it’s an inner thing because it’s not supposed to see the light of day.
Cartoon Credit

6. Dave FM changing its format from whatever it’s classified as to a Sports Talk station. Great. Less options in the already crappy ATL radio market. Here’s another plug for WMLB 1690 AM.  I wish the DJs would completely abandon their format and just spend their remaining time on the air playing what they want to hear, perhaps with a good healthy dose of listener requests.  I guess they can’t because they want to make sure that another Corporate Radio Station hires them to be the mouthpiece for the crappy format that they take on.

7. That I’m thinking about going off Facebook for a time so that I can get some art done.  I think I’ve already mentioned my robot painting.  Well, it’s still there with no new progress yet, and I can’t think of another way, other than greatly reducing the amount of time I spend on FB.  Some people don’t get why I’m on there as much as I am anyway, and that’s all right. When it’s On, it’s really a whole bunch of fun, but when it’s just Meh, then it’s just a time sucker.  So, I’m annoyed on two counts: 1. That I’m going to have to limit myself to get something done that I should want to do. 2. That FB’s been more Meh than On lately.

So, there you go.  These things are pissing me off recently. Now, on a scale of 1 – 10, none of them are really even a 10; although that cyclist came awfully close to scoring an 8.  What’s eating you these days?