A bona fide pioneer doesn’t come around very often.
And Joe Strummer (who was born 60 years ago today) was that and more—the former Clash frontman was already a living legend by the time of his passing 10 years ago, thanks to his unprecedented brand of politically charged howling and genre-bending punk rock. He also lived the prototypical rock star life: trashing hotels, disappearing to France only to reappear at the Paris Marathon (and run it), littering the world with local lore of his exploits in sleepy towns like Columbia, Missouri (legend has it, he finished a solo show then hopped behind the bar to make everyone in the house drinks). In honor, we’d recommend you put some Strummer on your playlist today.
While some claim Sotheby’s‘ upcoming Damien Hirst blowout—which is expected to bring in about $120 million—is merely an excuse to clear out a backlog of unsold work from Hirst’s London gallery, the bad boy Brit artist insists it actually marks a major turning point in his colorful career.
Titled *Beautiful Inside My Head Forever* and timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the celebrated *Freeze* exhibition which launched his career, Hirst says the sale represents the last of his long-running series of formaldehyde works, spin, and spot paintings, which have become a bit too predictable.
“It’s like my friend [late Clash frontman] Joe Strummer once told me about writing songs,” Hirst says. “If you can guess what the rhyme’s gonna be in the next line, then it’s shit and you’ve gotta change it.” We couldn’t agree more; Hirst’s work, turned out by his “factory,” Warhol-style, resembles nothing more then a broken, though very profitable, record at this point. Time for a new gimmick, old boy.
Now that the weather feels like Manchester, we thought it appropriate to chime in on the much ballyhooed Ian Curtis biopic *Control*. While The Clash’s Joe Strummer worked hard to achieve style icon status, Joy Division frontman Curtis only really reached his posthumously—and even then to a much lesser degree. Of course, since he killed himself in 1980 at the age of 23, he didn’t get much of a chance. But rakish rock’n'roll photographer Anton Corbijn goes some way toward setting the record straight in his supercool film.
Few rock bands have had a greater influence on the cultural landscape than The Clash. Trying to trace all the evidence of their inspiration on fashion alone would be a Herculean task, but their influence on modern menswear can be seen in the designs of everyone from Helmut Lang to Hedi Slimane.
The Clash’s frontman, Joe Strummer, who died in 2002, was responsible for most of what made them great. You can see how it all went down in punk auteur Julien Temple’s excellent new documentary, *Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten*—and maybe pick up a few style tips of your own.
Strummer was a genius with color and contrast for one thing; after all, this is the guy who mixed preppy pink and green with an iconic punk rock photograph on the cover of *London Calling*.
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