This music video from Britain is called The Clash Live – White Man in Hammersmith Palais HQ. With lyrics subtitles in French.
Friday, July 6, 2018
On the Road with Attila the Stockbroker
It was back in 1977 that Joe Strummer wrote those lines in White Man In Hammersmith Palais, the finest ever song by The Clash. Forty-one years later, it looks as they are going to come true and that’s why this week’s column is one of those few occasions when I ditch my tales of life on the road and concentrate instead on matters of far greater import to us all.
Unless the owners of the limousine have a last-minute change of heart, which sadly won’t happen given that they are Tories with an absolute fetish about “the transatlantic partnership” and believe it must be maintained at all costs, even if that means the end of the human race and the takeover of the planet by luminous orange woodlice with green testicles, the worst president in the history of the United States is coming to London next Friday.
There’s no need to even delve into the distant past to realise its implications. In my lifetime alone there have been Nixon, Reagan and two Bushes, and I’m sure that those of us old enough can all remember what we thought about them and equally sure that those readers not old enough to remember some of them know what they would have thought about them if they had lived through their presidencies.
But Trump is in a different league. When George W Bush called his inauguration address “some weird shit”, we knew we were entering uncharted territory. Imagine, for instance, Andy Warhol using that phrase to describe his thoughts at the opening of an exhibition by a new artist or Karlheinz Stockhausen employing it at the first performance of a musical work by a young and allegedly cutting-edge composer. Yes, exactly.
But the problem is that Trump’s dysfunctional, egomaniac, often downright fascist implosions are not taking place on the fringes of the experimental art world but bang in the middle of the real one we all live and breathe in. And since I am sure that we all want to carry on doing both, it is essential that everyone who currently is physically capable of movement and coherent thought gets their arses onto the streets of London and makes next Friday July 13 a very, very unlucky one indeed for Donald Trump.
It’s the most important mass protest since the one against Blair’s illegal war in Iraq and it needs to at least be twice as big and I hope it will be. Trump is the catalyst and figurehead for the growing far right both here and in the US — hardly surprising when he describes elements of a neonazi rally as “very fine people” and his “election”, albeit with a minority of the popular vote, has given the green light for all kinds of fascists, racists and conspiracy theorists to emerge from the shadows and spread their poison once more.
This is very different from the old days of the 1970s and ’80s when we took to the streets to oppose the likes of the National Front.
The internet has given everything a global dimension. When middle-aged, middle-class US Christian fundamentalists who think football is rugby played backwards by blokes in silly helmets post memes of former EDL leader and Luton hoolie Tommy Robinson holding a cross above the logo “Saint Tommy”, that’s the Trump effect.
It’s not just weird, it’s very dangerous. See you in London next Friday. This column replaces not just reports on some fine gigs — and poet Laura Taylor’s fantastic new collection, which will be reviewed in my next column — but also my thoughts on the World Cup. That’s how important it is.