Primal Screen

Hippie-hating punk rockers, captured on film! Remembering The Clash with a new DVD

Titans of the Clash: (left to right) Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Joe Strummer, and Mick Jones
Titans of the Clash: (left to right) Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Joe Strummer, and Mick Jones

The Essential Clash reveals the previously unheard-of persona that Strummer made up for himself: near-equal parts pop icon, prole gadfly, political nag, and all-round formal and human provocateur. (Bono flunks out of category four.) The DVD's output is slender, but memorable and startlingly undated--perhaps the only popular music of its period about which that might be said. The legacy is daunting. And the lyrics often form a queerly cheerful tombstone inscription for our era.

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