This Is England Appreciation Thread

Clash clash clash. ¡VIVAN LOS NORTEAMERICANOS DEL IMCT Y LAS BRIGADAS DEL CADILLAC NUEVO!
Wolter
User avatar
Half Foghorn Leghorn, Half Woody Allen
Posts: 53368
Joined: 15 Jun 2008, 7:59pm
Location: ¡HOLIDAY RO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-OAD!

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Wolter »

BitterTom wrote:
20 Jun 2020, 6:09pm
Paul looks like a cat whose owner has just sneezed.
:lol:
”INDER LOCK THE THE KISS THREAD IVE REALISED IM A PRZE IDOOT” - Thomas Jefferson

"But the gorilla thinks otherwise!"

Hammy
Dirty Punk
Posts: 94
Joined: 01 May 2011, 5:04pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Hammy »

They actually look pretty good; considering they're 'trying to be punks' – in the 80s?!

101Walterton
User avatar
The Best
Posts: 21485
Joined: 15 Jun 2008, 5:36pm
Location: Volcanic Rock In The Pacific

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by 101Walterton »

Hammy wrote:
22 Jun 2020, 3:11am
They actually look pretty good; considering they're 'trying to be punks' – in the 80s?!
Fair point punk did go out of fashion pretty quickly and those that were still punks at that time were not considered cool other than to American and Japanese tourists in the Kings Road.

Chairman Ralph
Long Time Jerk
Posts: 585
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 10:59pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Chairman Ralph »

Well, timing is everything in pop music. Even at the time of CTC's release, it didn't surprise me that people either shrugged, or said, "Huh?" Because the fall of '85 marked the height of electropop -- whereas, had it come out as promised in the fall of '84, the reactions might have been slightly different. Or perhaps they'd have said, "Huh?" for a different reason. :mrgreen:

Marky Dread
User avatar
Messiah of the Milk Bar
Posts: 46151
Joined: 17 Jun 2008, 11:26am

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Marky Dread »

Chairman Ralph wrote:
24 Jun 2020, 12:03am
Well, timing is everything in pop music. Even at the time of CTC's release, it didn't surprise me that people either shrugged, or said, "Huh?" Because the fall of '85 marked the height of electropop -- whereas, had it come out as promised in the fall of '84, the reactions might have been slightly different. Or perhaps they'd have said, "Huh?" for a different reason. :mrgreen:
Nah look at all the electronic bands in the early 80s getting number ones like the Human League '81 and Soft Cell etc. They were up against that stuff long before '85 and CtC.
Image

Chairman Ralph
Long Time Jerk
Posts: 585
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 10:59pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Chairman Ralph »

Nah look at all the electronic bands in the early 80s getting number ones like the Human League '81 and Soft Cell etc. They were up against that stuff long before '85 and CtC.
Fair enough, though I was thinking more of the general tone of the music press, and its suggestion that anything guitar-driven was passe, and it was time to embrace the gleaming electro-driven future, whatever that looked like. That's what I remember, anyhow. Plus, you also had all of Joe's nemeses -- Culture Club, Duran Duran, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and Spandau Ballet -- all peaking or nearing the end of their initial run of success. It certainly didn't make Strummer and company's mission, such as it was, any easier than it would have been pre-CTC.

Hammy
Dirty Punk
Posts: 94
Joined: 01 May 2011, 5:04pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Hammy »

True dat. They were getting pummelled by the music press – around this time; hammered for being phonies – clearly out for rock n' roll stardom whilst singing off strikes and riots and shit. No wonder they high-tailed it to america (and good on 'em.) Still, the faithful were there – in the chinks in the woodwork (?!) no different to now, if you're good – they'll try and knock the legs out from under ya! And if you're looking for 'the good'...you're on your own.

Tim Bucknall
Bang Ice Geezer
Posts: 215
Joined: 27 Apr 2012, 7:43am

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Tim Bucknall »

Love it
Yes it should have come out about 12 months earlier at the height of the miners strike but under the circumstances we’re lucky it came out at all

It’s the only track where Bernie’s approach worked
Probably accidentally tbh

The splashes of acoustic guitar are a nice touch, thanks to the op for reminding me

Btw Ralph, love the book, I can tell how much heart and soul you poured into it

Marky Dread
User avatar
Messiah of the Milk Bar
Posts: 46151
Joined: 17 Jun 2008, 11:26am

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Marky Dread »

Hammy wrote:
29 Jun 2020, 2:49am
True dat. They were getting pummelled by the music press – around this time; hammered for being phonies – clearly out for rock n' roll stardom whilst singing off strikes and riots and shit. No wonder they high-tailed it to america (and good on 'em.) Still, the faithful were there – in the chinks in the woodwork (?!) no different to now, if you're good – they'll try and knock the legs out from under ya! And if you're looking for 'the good'...you're on your own.
Yeah but for once some of the poor press was justified. Other artists who The Clash had inspired like Billy Bragg were doing it much better and getting the message across. One man one guitar saying so much more than a punk band with drum machines and synths.
Image

Chairman Ralph
Long Time Jerk
Posts: 585
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 10:59pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Chairman Ralph »

True dat. They were getting pummelled by the music press – around this time; hammered for being phonies – clearly out for rock n' roll stardom whilst singing off strikes and riots and shit. No wonder they high-tailed it to america (and good on 'em.) Still, the faithful were there – in the chinks in the woodwork (?!) no different to now, if you're good – they'll try and knock the legs out from under ya! And if you're looking for 'the good'...you're on your own.
Well, there was a practical element there, too -- they were doing way better over here than over there, so it's not surprising that they followed that path (versus, say, '81, where the UK got a whopping 15-odd dates for the year -- this before Combat Rock lifted them out of their misery, financially speaking).
Love it
Yes it should have come out about 12 months earlier at the height of the miners strike but under the circumstances we’re lucky it came out at all

It’s the only track where Bernie’s approach worked
Probably accidentally tbh

The splashes of acoustic guitar are a nice touch, thanks to the op for reminding me

Btw Ralph, love the book, I can tell how much heart and soul you poured into it
Thanks, Tim, as I've said before, we worked very hard to make it more than your standard rock 'n' roll bio type thing -- not that the Clash's story ever followed a straight line, anyway, as we all know.

I've always referred to CTC's production aesthetic as "Everything And The Kitchen Sink." :mrgreen: But that's why I always put down North & South as my second favorite after This Is England, because it's one other place I can think of where that kitchen sink style (or, as I'd put it, "More is more"), actually works, at least for me.

But your comment about bringing out CTC in '84 brings me to my other point -- reality paces perception. You gotta do what you claim you're gonna do, or else, the effect isn't the same, when you finally do get around to actually doing it. The album should have come out then, because that's what they kept claiming, over and over. The lengthy fog of silence that followed only made the whole affair seem ever more mysterious and annoying, when CTC finally did arrive.

My wife, Lisa, made a similar point recently about Sisters Of Mercy, of whom she's a huge fan -- and how Andrew Eldritch claimed to be putting out a new album to coincide with Trump's rise in 2016. Four years have come and gone, and there's no sign of it, which has apparently raised a stir among fans -- she says she'll probably still get it, if and when it ever comes, but she found it disappointing, as someone who's a longtime fan.

So that's my point -- once the air goes out of the balloon, it's tough to put it back. In most cases.
Yeah but for once some of the poor press was justified. Other artists who The Clash had inspired like Billy Bragg were doing it much better and getting the message across. One man one guitar saying so much more than a punk band with drum machines and synths.
Billy definitely was getting the message across, though I didn't always look to straight rock -- back then -- to get me through those blighted times. Two of my favorite releases came from the postpunk stable, Acts Of Love, and Drums & Voice which does exactly what it says on the tin, no other instruments except those, plus some eerie vocal effects -- two albums that couldn't have been farther removed from what was happening, but way better and more inspirational to me personally than 95% of the cow plop that so many were dutifully cranking out at the time.

Marky Dread
User avatar
Messiah of the Milk Bar
Posts: 46151
Joined: 17 Jun 2008, 11:26am

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Marky Dread »

Billy definitely was getting the message across, though I didn't always look to straight rock -- back then -- to get me through those blighted times. Two of my favorite releases came from the postpunk stable, Acts Of Love, and Drums & Voice which does exactly what it says on the tin, no other instruments except those, plus some eerie vocal effects -- two albums that couldn't have been farther removed from what was happening, but way better and more inspirational to me personally than 95% of the cow plop that so many were dutifully cranking out at the time.

Yes I agree there were still some really good underrated band's around with strong messages like McCarthy for example takling the big issues. But then the pop acts like Frankie Goes to Hollywood (Two Tribes) and Paul Hardcastle (19) both made number 1 here and in a sense stole a march on The Clash. Bernie may well have had the idea that The Clash could compete in this field but that was never the point to The Clash in the first place. I wonder if Bernie had took a step back from his ego and let a named producer do the album and just the band with no session men and no synths etc record it straight as we all would've liked it would've fared any better when released. I expect the critics may have been a little easier on it but not much.
Image

Chairman Ralph
Long Time Jerk
Posts: 585
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 10:59pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Chairman Ralph »

Yes I agree there were still some really good underrated band's around with strong messages like McCarthy for example takling the big issues. But then the pop acts like Frankie Goes to Hollywood (Two Tribes) and Paul Hardcastle (19) both made number 1 here and in a sense stole a march on The Clash. Bernie may well have had the idea that The Clash could compete in this field but that was never the point to The Clash in the first place. I wonder if Bernie had took a step back from his ego and let a named producer do the album and just the band with no session men and no synths etc record it straight as we all would've liked it would've fared any better when released. I expect the critics may have been a little easier on it but not much.
Yeah, I'd say so -- both those records you mention got a lot of attention over here, too, even if FGTH ultimately didn't quite translate as a long term proposition to the masses in the US.

I think that Bernie was looking for some validation in the pop arena, and wanted to see if the Clash could compete there. Then -- as the self-styled "fifth Clash member"/conceptualist -- he (naturally) nominated himself for the job of trying to steer them through the '80s, only to see those hopes thoroughly dashed, as I've already enumerated.

I do think the band might have fared somewhat better, at least, if CTC had lived up to its pre-release blueprint -- for many reviewers (here, especially), CTC's sonic pileups simply didn't jibe with what Joe had been promising for so long. Hence, the confusion, and the resulting critical mauling.

One of the ironies of the whole thing, to me -- for someone like Bernie, who considered himself so self-consciously modern, and for a record that he planned on shaping along those lines -- is just how so many of the electronic elements intended to update the Clash brand' (as he saw it) seem so awkwardly shoehorned or tacked on, in all the wrong places, which remains my biggest issue with it, after all this time, and more listens than I care to count. :mrgreen:

Hammy
Dirty Punk
Posts: 94
Joined: 01 May 2011, 5:04pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Hammy »

Yeah, but Billy Bragg and The Clash are not the same: to quote Mick 'you mustn't be a downer' all those Red Wedge bands were laying it on too thick and that's why The Clash was always a more attractive issue. The clash had moved up to that rarefied air where they were about to become U2 – because THEY WERE A BAND..and an exciting one at that. That's why it's so irritating that the music press, Radio 1, BBC had the knives out for them.

Chairman Ralph
Long Time Jerk
Posts: 585
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 10:59pm

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Chairman Ralph »

Yeah, but Billy Bragg and The Clash are not the same: to quote Mick 'you mustn't be a downer' all those Red Wedge bands were laying it on too thick and that's why The Clash was always a more attractive issue. The clash had moved up to that rarefied air where they were about to become U2 – because THEY WERE A BAND..and an exciting one at that. That's why it's so irritating that the music press, Radio 1, BBC had the knives out for them.
"

Billy clearly drew from the Clash and was inspired them; he's gone on record often enough to that effect, after all. But he does say in WATC that he went off the Clash, because they didn't live up to what he viewed as their initial promise -- hence, that run-in with Joe and Paul at the Bristol gig, where he opened for them, as Mark and I detail. In any event...

...I like them both. They were just working different sides of the street. To me, it's not a case of "all or nothing," or one somehow is way better than the other -- I saw them both live then, and quite a few of the same faces at both those gigs, which tells me that their fan bases might be deemed fairly similar.

The Red Wedge bands weren't exactly chopped liver, either -- those shows had all-star lineups for a reason, to get people out, and hopefully, get them motivated to do a bit more than just enjoy a good night out. Considering what came to pass in the UK, it might well be argued they didn't lay it on thick enough, or else, a smaller portion of the general public were on board with the cause than the organizers believed. But I don't see that as their fault, necessarily. Sometimes things work differently than how you expect at the time.

Critical knife sharpening goes with the territory, especially when you reach a certain level of success, which makes you a bigger and more tempting target -- if slightly predictable. As Nick has pointed out, many many times, if you looked at that MOJO special edition with all the reviews, that they did however long ago, it was amusing to see how many of those grew markedly worse after the initial buzz of '77 wore off.

Marky Dread
User avatar
Messiah of the Milk Bar
Posts: 46151
Joined: 17 Jun 2008, 11:26am

Re: This Is England Appreciation Thread

Post by Marky Dread »

Hammy wrote:
30 Jun 2020, 1:31am
Yeah, but Billy Bragg and The Clash are not the same: to quote Mick 'you mustn't be a downer' all those Red Wedge bands were laying it on too thick and that's why The Clash was always a more attractive issue. The clash had moved up to that rarefied air where they were about to become U2 – because THEY WERE A BAND..and an exciting one at that. That's why it's so irritating that the music press, Radio 1, BBC had the knives out for them.
Around that time they were very similar in their ideals. Billy was doing it better and his message was stronger. The Clash had the Arthur Scargills Christmas party in Brixton
and playing some new tunes. How the fuck "Fingerpoppin" and "We Are The Clash" we expected to go over is anyone's guess.

Bernie wanted The Clash to battle it out in the pop world. While band's such as The Redskins were saying so much more to the man on the street.
B.A.D. were having fun and still takling issues in their songs with "A Party" (apartheid) "Stone Thames" (aids). The gulf between "Stone Thames" and "Fingerpoppin" is simply staggering.
Image

Post Reply