Meeting Joe Strummer
Joe Strummer, the son of a crofter’s daughter and foreign service diplomat who became the poster boy for leftist, politically astute rock music is not lying quietly in his grave. Since his death in 2002 from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect there have been more column inches dedicated to him (thanks largely to the Future Forests carbon neutralising project he set up on the Isle of Skye), and more films made about him than when he was alive.
None of this fazes Paul Hodson, the writer/director of Meeting Joe Strummer. Talking from what he laughingly calls ‘The Clash heartlands of Epsom’, where the show is about to start its run before arriving in Scotland, Hodson takes up the story: ‘This all started when my actor friend Steve North suggested we do something about Strummer. Being a huge fan I was intrigued but I knew that I did not want to write a biopic. So I did lots of research – listening to the records, reading the books, interviewing among others his biographer Chris Salewicz and DJ Don Letts and then I realised that what I wanted to write was something from the experience of Strummer’s fans. So I developed these two characters who meet at the Rock Against Racism gig in Victoria Park in 1978, which for many people who saw him there that day was a life-changing experience.’ Hodson, who won a Fringe First for the play in 2006 and also won acclaim for Teenage Kicks, a play about John Peel at this year’s festival, is philosophical about his newfound penchant for celebrity morbidity – ‘I just wish my heroes would stop dying,’ he laughs. (Paul Dale)
MacRobert, Stirling, Sun 23 and Mon 24 Sep.