Thursday, April 24, 2008

Life-defining moments

This is not a post about Costa Rica. It's just a post about me, so if you're looking for Costa Rica info, you can skip this one.

The other night on VM Latino I happened to come across that weird guy's show (Junkie TV?), and he happened to be playing a documentary on The Clash. (By the way, is it just me, or does that weird guy remind you of a punk rock Barney [as in big purple dinosaur Barney] -- always talking with his hands and such? It drives me nuts.) This station usually plays hip-hop and reggaeton, and not much else, so seeing The Clash was like, woah! I had to stop and make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

I think they only did part of the documentary (because Barney had to keep his running commentary going, and going, and going on and on and on between cuts), though I'm hoping they play the rest of it next week.

The Clash is the band that changed my life. I think I was 12, your typical 12-year-old girl, listening to Duran Duran and going roller skating on the weekends and dreaming about cute boys. I was also addicted to MTV, which was still quite new (and still actually played videos) back in the 80s. Then one day in 1982, I saw this video:

It was love at first sight (especially the last few seconds of live footage of that video -- wow!). Joe rocked my world, and I was forever hooked on punk rock. All other men in my life would heretofore be judged by the Joe Strummer standard (which, now that I think of it, wasn't entirely fair -- there was and will ever be only one Joe Strummer); he was cool, and hot, and creative, and a great musician and singer...what was not to like? My first real boyfriend (I think I was 14) in Ohio was a guy named Sid who sported a mohawk. My mom used to drop me off at the mall, where I'd meet him and he'd go around to different stores, stealing things for me. He also taught me the dine and dash. Wow, was I smitten! :-) Later, I moved to California, and in some sort of attempt to have a Joe of my own, I started dating musicians. There were a few; some more memorable than others, but after one in particular not only broke my heart but ripped it out of my chest and squashed it in a pile of broken glass, I swore off musicians for good. That has been, I think, a good thing. I still like the creative, artistic types, though, which is one of the reasons I fell for esposo. Not a musician, he is one of the best and most creative chefs in this country (and possibly also in Latin America).

Unfortunately for me, I came late to The Clash scene, and they broke up not long after. I still devoured all of their older music that I could get my hands on (the opening bars of This is Radio Clash is the ringtone on my cell -- I wonder what Joe would think of that?), and they did start me down the road to The Ramones, Agent Orange, X, and eventually Rancid and The Deftones. But you never forget your first love, and for me that was The Clash.

One of my most prized possessions is my Combat Rock album signed by Joe himself. Actually, meeting Joe was one of the most memorable moments in my life; even though he was heavier and older and looked a little tired, I still felt like a giddy little girl meeting him (there was an in-store meet-and-greet in Portland where a friend of mine was working at the time). I actually got to shake his hand and tell him what an honor it was to meet him; he seemed genuinely friendly, even though I really wanted to vomit on his shoes from the nerves of it all. A couple of years after that, Joe passed away. What a loss.

So there you have it. The making of a punk rock mama.


1 comment:

  1. You punk rawk momma you :)
    I remember your mid-week jaunt up to Portland just to meet Joe.

    His passing was truly a loss for the music community as a whole.