Great story. It's stories like this that helped make The Clash such a much loved band.Heston wrote: ↑30 Mar 2021, 5:01pmProbably worth putting it here. Thanks to all involved for getting this out there.
The Clash hits Hendon, Sunderland, Sunday May 12th 1985.
It was around 2pm, Sunday, May 12th 1985. The Salem Hotel was approaching last orders at the bar and a group of Labour Party activities were thinking about getting a final beer before going home.
We were members of Hendon Ward labour party and we had been leafleting that morning to thank local residents for voting Labour in the recent local elections, electing a Labour Councillor and removing the Tory incumbent.
Leafleting usual ended up in the Salem Hotel where we put the world to right and discussed what we need to do to remove Thatcher, the wicked witch of the south.
Last orders were called and then a group of young men entered the bar. I turned to my great friend, Bryn Sidaway, and said ‘my god its Joe Strummer and the Clash’. The Clash was my band then and still is – couldn’t believe it. We found out that they had a relation in Hendon and they had stayed with him overnight. Bryn (a local Councillor), not shy from stepping forward, went over to them, introduced himself, told them they had one of their biggest fans in the corner and would they like to join us – and they did. We were regulars at the Salem and were good friends with the landlady, she agreed to open the bar again and we had a great afternoon swigging ale, discussing politics, the need for change, political activism and music.
Joe Strummer had bright red hair and throughout the afternoon another great friend, Geoff Dodds, referred to him as carrot top. He didn’t seem to take offence, particularly as the beer flowed.
At about 3.30 The Salem was keen to close and for us to move on. It was a Sunday afternoon tradition that some of us took turns to cook Sunday dinner for part of the group. That Sunday afternoon it was Geoff Dodds turn and it was lucky he lived in Upper Flat, 13 Salem Street, which was across the road from the Salem. The roast beef and roast potatoes were already cooking. They were invited and they agreed to join us. The afternoon increasingly took on a party atmosphere and the merrier we got. We shared Sunday Roast beef and roast potato sandwiches and, in return, they offered to play us some of their songs with the basic musical instruments they had. These were supplemented by a Geoff’s bongo drum and guitar with only 5 strings. They tuned it and used it. I made a particular request for them to play Armageddon Time. They kicked of their set with ‘Trailers for sale or rent’.
Fortunately, Geoff’s son, Steven, had the sense to press the record button on his cassette player so we have this recording. This is Steven’s recollection of the event:
“For me that afternoon changed everything about my music and has probably influenced everything I’ve ever liked since. Started my love of live music - the only thing I’ve missed during lockdowns. I have a vague memory of my dad offering Carrot Top a bottle of whiskey if he could get a tune out of the guitar and I’m sure his Bongo drums were out too. I can’t really remember much else except how buzzing everyone was and singing along encouraged by Carrot Top. Probably the only time I heard my dad singing (apart from at football) and he used to be a decent folk singer from what Linda tells me. The bar I’ve built is a tribute to the Clash and called it Rock the Clashbar.
This was the day before my Dads 40th and a week or two before the planned visit of Prince Charles and Lady Diana to a local Housing Co-op. I remember my dad telling Joe about his Republican protest plans and Joe Strummer offering to get hundreds of punks to come and join us.”
Word had got around the local neighbourhood that the Clash had been in the Salem and then moved to Geoff’s, and a number of children gathered outside and danced throughout their performance.
At 6ish they said they had to move on – they were going to Edinburgh that evening. You can hear on the CD how we tried to persuade them to stay but to no avail. They were gone.
Kevin Marquis, on behalf of all those present:
Geoff and Steve Dodds,
Bryn and Kath Sidaway
Clash clash clash. ¡VIVAN LOS NORTEAMERICANOS DEL IMCT Y LAS BRIGADAS DEL CADILLAC NUEVO!