Jun 21, 2013

Daisy's Letter From London: Without People You're Nothing - The Unveiling of the London Joe Strummer Mural

Dear Karate Boogaloo -

Very exciting … Thursday, June 13, 7:00pm, the Joe Strummer Mural London W11 mural, designed and realised by Gary Loveridge with Emma Harrison, had a lovely unveiling ceremony in front of a fabulous flock of Punk Rockers, and Richard Young, a rather well-known English paparazzi geezer (“Oy! Gary, Emma over here!”).

Mural from across the street

Gary, Emma & Mick
MICK JONES, his Clash Royalty suited and rain-coated self (who brought HIS digital camera), came along, and ended up shooting Gary (35 years a Clash fan) into seventh heaven by taking his photo AND signing a declaration of approval AND standing by for photos with happy fans, young and old, from far and wide ...
Mick's declaration of approval
Cosmo Johnson (not to be confused with Kosmo Vinyl) who got the train from Watchet, Somerset, a pair of Spanish boys on Boris Bikes, Ray Gange (his grinning Rude Boy-self), Gaz Mayall from Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues, Steve Worral (who writes the wonderful Retroman Blog).

Here is the unveiling moment:

“About time” was the consensus and “well done” to Emma who had a lot of expectations to fill.

After a lot of photos in front of the Mural, there was a general wandering into the pub, catty-corner, for a bit of a pint because these lads don’t want to be seen getting all choked up on the street. A girl’s job here is to offer a few hugs to hide the misty eyes.

It’s been interesting watching the project get realised over the last few years. The seed was planted when Gary happened to be visiting New York on the anniversary of Joe Strummer’s death (22 December). He went to pay his respects down on Tompkins Square Park, 112 Avenue A at East 7th Street… stood with his hero in one of Joe’s favourite cities. Few weeks later, Ray Gange (Rude Boy) came to visit NYC for the DeKoening show. They’d connected via Facebook and we went and had lunch across the street from Avenue A Joe Strummer visible out the window.

The following year, Gary had a show of his punk rock posters at 198 Gallery in Brixton, London, where someone from Notting Hill had come along and said, “could you put up some posters of Joe Strummer at the Tabernacle when we have the anniversary of the Acklam Hall gig for the Arms Aloft (fire brigade union) fundraiser?”.

Gary goes to hang this show, and they’ve got this photo they offered for him to include. It was a photo of the mural in New York. Now it’s December 2012. It got Gary thinking all over again, “why isn’t there a mural in London?” And why not in Notting Hill, Joe’s old neighbourhood?
It wasn’t long before he spotted the perfect wall! It was next to Lyndon’s Bead Shop at 197 Portobello Road at Blenheim Crescent, a short walk from the Tabernacle in Hedgecote Court, past the Rough Trade record shop.

The son in Lyndon’s couldn’t be more friendly. “My dad likes art” he said, “I think he’ll like the idea.” And he did!

Now it just so happened that Emma Harrison had a stall at Spitalfields Market, and it just so happened that Gary saw some badges on her stall that attracted him over. They got talking about punk rock and she did mentioned that she had been a mural artist in New York with Fab 5 Freddie back in the day.

It had been on Gary’s mind that the person who would be right for painting the mural would have to be a young man in a hoodie with an aerosol sort of thing (probably Banksy if he could get his phone number. After all, Gary was brought up not far from Bristol). It was a few weeks later that the penny dropped and he thought, hang on a minute … he’d met a living breathing mural artist, turns out Emma even KNEW the Clash! What are the chances?

They met up and came up with a design. They decided to use an older photo of Joe with his trusted Telecaster guitar and something Gary had heard Joe say on a late night radio show: "WITHOUT PEOPLE, YOU’RE NOTHING." They prepped the wall, marked it out and painted! Joe Strummer always enjoyed a campfire, so there’s one in the corner. The Mesceleros insignia is top right.

The plan

The result

Then all we had to do was pray for good weather. (I admit, I did actually pray. There had been a few showers early on in the week.)

By Julian Yewdall

So, that’s the story of that and we hope you can come and visit when you are in London next. `Rock with us …

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