The Clash: The Music That Matters
On February 15, Omnibus Press will be publishing my book The Clash: The Music That Matters. This is, essentially, an update of the same book published all the way back in 2005 as ‘The Complete Guide To Their Music.’ If you already have that book, I won’t pretend that the new series title, front cover and layout offers anything spectacularly new by way of actual content, although the copy has been thoroughly updated to take care of subsequent CDs, DVDs, individual band member activity (of which, of course, Joe Strummer is no longer around to participate in, and how we still miss him) and also includes a timeline that was not part of the original publication.
If you don’t have the book as yet, however, I would like to talk it up. It’s only 112 pages; it’s only £8.95 or $14.95. I didn’t interview anybody for it. Compared to the biography I have just finished on the Smiths, which will likely run around 500 pages and which took (most of) the last two years of my life, it might appear almost inconsequential. But I have to tell you: I love this little book. I had as much fun writing it as I did any of my various published works, and all the more so because it focuses on the music itself, song by song as chronologically released. In fact, I feel as strongly about this book – relative to its goals and its price bracket – as I do about Dear Boy, All Hopped Up and Ready To Go, or the forthcoming A Light That Never Goes Out…
…All the more so because of how it now looks. Back in 2005, I had been mildly disheartened by what I considered a rather unimaginative cover design, lack of interior layout and poor paper stock. While I’ve yet to get my hands on a copy of the new edition, I’ve seen the cover and the layout and it’s much more relevant to the music at hand, music that remains no less pertinent/important/potent than ever. My minor tome is not a substitute for any biography on the Clash (I’ve recently been reading Pat Gilbert’s exhaustive Passion Is A Fashion and enjoying it immensely); it’s a companion piece. It’s ideal for when you put on a Clash album – or single, assuming you still have a record player – and want to know more about the circumstances behind each song.
If you’d like to read an excerpt or four, please follow this link, which will take you to ijamming 1.0, back when it was designed in the web equivalent of fanzine lay-out – i.e., in html. If you’d like to buy a copy, be my guest. I do encourage everyone to support their local independent bookstore, regardless of what that does to my amazon rankings. But if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, or can’t otherwise get a copy, follow this link to amazon.co.uk. The amazon.com site suggests that U.S. publication is not until June… Still, in our interconnected world, I am sure you will find books available quickly enough via online retailers. (To my publishers: please publish this as an E-book, which would allow people to read it while listening to the Clash on their iPod. Thanks.)
If you get a copy, let me know what you think of it. You can leave comments below.