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Bridgwater celebrates International Clash Day

BRIDGWATER’S link with Clash frontman Joe Strummer lives on today with the celebration of International Clash Day.

The event was set up in 2016 when Bridgwater and KEXP Radio in Seattle, USA, agreed a punk twinning declaration.

And today (February 5) KEXP radio will be broadcasting Clash music from 1pm to 3am UK time.

Bridgwater Town Council Leader Brian Smedley said: “They’ll be playing the Clash, of course, but also looking into the band’s influences, as well as some of the music being made all around the world that shares their ethos as a band.

“Joe Strummer said ‘We’re anti-fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist, and we’re pro-creative. We’re against ignorance.’ That sounds a pretty good ethos to me.”

You can tune into KEXP today at 90.3 at KEXP.org. You can also follow them on social media by searching for KEXP.

The Clash formed in London in 1976, establishing their unique sound combining punk with reggae, dub, funk, and ska, behind socially conscious lyrics; changing the face of modern music with five albums and 16 hit singles.

Later Joe Strummer moved to Bridgwater where on November 17, 2002 he played the Palace Theatre with his band the Mescaleros in order to raise money for the launch of innovative new film and media centre The Engine Room.

Cllr Smedley, who played bass with bottom of the bill support act the Visitors that same night, said: “The fact that Strummer liked Bridgwater, chose to move here and then wanted to help us means a lot.
“When people were sneeringly dissing the town in ‘The Knowhere Guide’ or wherever, Strummer stuck up for us. He liked the town because it was rough and ready and radical. And we like him for that.”
Strummer died of a heart attack aged 50 on December 22, 2002, just a month after his Bridgwater gig and a memorial night was held spontaneously at the Bridgwater Labour Club.

At the time Smedley said: “We wanted to dedicate a gig to the memory of Joe Strummer who as frontman of the Clash inspired my generation with a passion and politics in his music. The punk movement of the late 70’s inspired people to write and perform their own music and to tackle the establishment head on.”

See the clash in action here:  https://youtu.be/EfK-WX2pa8c

Strummer on film

Strummer’s life was immortalised in the 2007 movie by local film maker Julien Temple ‘The Future is Unwritten’ which was premiered at the Palace Bridgwater on May 5 that year. In the film,  Strummer is revealed not just as a legend or musician, but as a true communicator of our times.

Drawing on both a shared punk history and the close personal friendship which developed over the last years of Joe’s life, Temple’s film is a celebration of Joe Strummer – before, during and after the Clash.

Temple also made the classic Sex Pistol films ‘The Filth and the Fury’ (2000) and ‘The Great Rock n Roll Swindle’ (1980) along with other great rock films such as ‘Oil City Confidential’ (2009) about Dr Feelgood, various rock videos including several by David Bowie and his most recent film ‘The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson’ (2015) and he will be at the Strummer event today showing clips from his film and being interviewed live on US radio station KEXP

Strummer’s contribution to Bridgwater

The money raised from Strummer’s Palace gig went towards the setting up of a Bridgwater base for Somerset Film.
The Engine Room has become a key part of the arts community in Bridgwater and is in the process of expanding its base into neighbouring buildings.

Organiser Phil Shepherd said: “He played a wonderful gig for us and really proved himself as a showman. He was a terrific performer and by doing if for nothing he showed his commitment to Somerset, and our project which he considered to be worthwhile.”

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