Can you keep London Callling’s secret?

Happy Saturday folks! I’ll be keeping my Sunday and Wednesday posting routine through the fall, but today’s post is rather timely. I figure many folks on twitter and elsewhere are bound to be posting pix of Paul Simonon in flagrante delicto (delicio?) tomorrow in celebration of the alleged anniversary–and, alas, they’ll miss it by a day.

The anniversary of his impersonation of Paul Bunyan is 20 September, actually, and I’ve shared here four items toward that end:

  • two pages of a four-page section in Stealing All Transmissions (due out 15 October in the US, the following month in the commonwealth)
  • a still from a video clip from the 9/21 show, in which it’s clear that Simonon’s playing a bass lacking the “pressure drop” sticker preserved in the rocknroll hall of fame
  • the video itself, and
  • the audio file from the coda of the 9/20 show.

This evidence, I understand, is not definitive, and may be only of interest to the most bona-fide nutters, but it may jump-start a conversations or two, and set a-lit the hot-foot of a hater or two. (Much gratitude is due to Dave Marin — follow him on twitter here — for bringing this item to my attention and helping compile much more evidence than I’ve presented here.)

Stealing snippet

Here’s the video that’s been synched up with the Guns of Brixton bootleg audio track, along with a still from that video.

Simonon -- Palladium

And here’s the audio clip of perfectly punk quality from the 20 September show, in which you can hear quite a ruckus at the end. (The 21 September show has nothing of the sort.)


Again: it’s simply a fun stir of the pot here, which I hope you’ve enjoyed.

Author: stealingalltransmissions

CA ex-pat loving life in Northeast Ohio. Like most of you, I write stuff.

One thought on “Can you keep London Callling’s secret?”

  1. Absolutely – TODAY September 20th is the 35th anniversary of Pennie Smith’s iconic London Calling photo. The album credits have been wrong all these years. (Plus I was there on 9/20/79 and saw the event that night). Aside from the bits of evidence Randal presents here interestingly the key to knowing the date of Paul’s bass guitar smash is determined by Joe’s shirt! On the 20th in NYC Joe was wearing a purple shirt with abstract white lines and a very distinctive BLACK BREAST POCKET. On the 21st he was wearing a solid BLUE shirt. Every photo found online taken September 20th shows Joe wearing the shirt with the black pocket. This same shirt is visible in a Pennie Smith’s own photographic contact sheet which was included as part of the 25th anniversary “legacy edition” of London Calling. And clearly when one listens to the entire recording of the 9/20 show (found on the guitars101 website) you know that performance was not nearly as good as the one on the 21st. It was this poor performance and more specifically the poor crowd reaction that pissed Paul off to the point he smashed his guitar at the end of White Riot. One day maybe the album credits will be corrected. Happy Anniversary.

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