I get a continued kick out of the fact that one of the most popular posts on this here ten minutes hate of mine continues to be the one called ‘stop being a sap!’ which features Joe Strummer’s words about taking control of your life and creating something for yourself.
Malcolm McLaren, whose funeral took place today, was another of that ilk. As one of the better obituaries, written by McLaren collaborator Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls, tells it:
When I remember Malcolm, I think that he taught me the idea that if you don’t like something, you’re the only one that can change it. That’s the mentality people need to make things happen. It takes a spark to build a fire, and Malcolm was definitely that spark.
I worry for us though, because we are losing them. The towers of controlled rage and puncturers of excess and stupidity who saw the Jubilee year as less of an excuse to pat the Queen on the back for a job well done but more of an opportunity to create merry hell and up the blood pressure of the clueless as they railed against England’s lack of promise.
And here we are again, up to our necks in it… except all we have to throw at the problem are Scouting for Girls and a million poor Kate Bush knock-offs.
So if you are tired of sitting in the pub wondering what it all means, it’s time to start making it happen. Stop chasing the dreams they sell you and make your own, let them come to you, just as McLaren did. In his own words:
I was taught that to create anything you had to believe in failure, simply because you had to be prepared to go through an idea without any fear. Failure, you learned, as I did in art school, to be a wonderful thing. It allowed you to get up in the morning and take the pillow off your head.
He’s right of course. Make some noise, piss people off, do it your own way. Don’t follow anyone else’s idea of a well-defined career path. Your life’s worth much more than eat, shit, work, consume, sleep. Make it count.
Historically of course having enough to eat, security in old age, free health, education etc would have seemed an impossible dream. And still is for most of the planet.
So if I want to sit back and enjoy it I don’t need frauds like Jo Strummer and Malcolm Mclaren lecturing me not to.
Hi Jo, thanks for passing by!
You’re right, those things are still a luxury for most of the planet. So kick back and enjoy it, of course, but also try changing things so more people can do the same.
‘Fraud’ is a strong word to chuck about, certainly McLaren was a showman and loved to play about with ideas of truth’, especially where ‘the Great Rock n Roll Swindle’ was concerned. Strummer, on the other hand, I would say was anything but: always looking out for fans in the Clash days and later working with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua when making the film Walker with Alex Cox.