Gather Round the Campfire, Tune in the World, Punk Rock Warlords

not a rock ‘n’ roll swindle: on joe strummer and the future is unwritten.

At the end of Julian Temple’s hagiographic documentary about Joe Strummer, lead singer for the Clash, self-proclaimed “punk rock warlord,” and so much more, Temple shows a Christmas card that Strummer sent out to friends right before his untimely death in 2002. It pictured campfires across the world, small gatherings of friends.

Strummer had adopted the idea of holding campfire gatherings and Temple’s film uses the same campfire concept in his film to celebrate Strummer’s life. The film also uses Strummer’s wide-rangingLondon Calling broadcasts on the BBC World Service to convey his sense of a global cultural politics.

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten is worth seeing for anyone who dismisses cultural politics. Of course, Strummer’s politics were complex, even compromised. But the fellowship he created — the piercing humanism he was able to convey and shoot through to the heart — should be at the core of any politics worth its salt.

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