Monday 20 August 2012

The Rise & Fall Of The Clash: Premiere at Portobello POP Up Cinema - Report by Susan Bell, Photos by Beki Cowey

Danny Garcia's new documentary movie "The Rise and Fall Of The Clash", had its' UK premiere at Portobello POP Up cinema on August 15th. Directed by Clash fan Garcia, the film charts, not only the well documented years as one of the guiding lights of the Punk scene, but also the rather unseemly and disappointing end to the band's existence. Although Mick Jones is the only original member interviewed, lots of familiar faces from the Clash's supporting cast are present - from Terry Chimes, Tymon Dogg and Pearl Harbour to Vince White, Nick Sheppard and Pete Howard, who were all members of that often "air-brushed-out" Post-Mick Clash line-up. Susan Bell was at the movie's Premiere and she has kindly contributed the following review for Retro Man Blog.

"I turned up early, around 6, to make sure I was able to get into the event as I was not on the guest list. Outside the venue were die-hard fans of The Clash all doing the same as me, wanting to be sure to get into this new documentary film, which included the final chapters of this iconic band. We got into the venue which had a bar, a nice setting to be watching a film and being able to enjoy it with a fine tipple of wine or a tin of beer...most were on the tins of beer! I had a good look around and saw a lot of the old Punk Rockers floating about along with Journos and, of course, Don Letts and some other familiar faces such as Tony James, Paul Cook, Glen Matlock, Leo Williams and Norman Watt-Roy. No Paul Simonon, Mick Jones or Terry Chimes around though.

The seating was only a capacity of 100, but having said that, it turned out to be oversold and 300 or so turned up, 200 were let in and the rest turned away. The lights go down, the excitement builds up, and there's a very excited crowd of old Punks waiting to see this new take on The Clash story. It demonstrates all the business from the inside, a take on what the manager, Bernie Rhodes, was doing to manipulate the band members and how vulnerable Joe Strummer was at the time towards the demise of the band. It shows Mick becoming interested in all the finer things that money and success can bring. He was showing up late to all the gigs and the band were not happy with this change of events. In fact Mick was only ever early on the day he was sacked from the band. We discover, with their very different backgrounds, that there was a class divide between Mick and Joe. Topper Headon was sacked after his big problems with hard drugs. They get in Terry Chimes again, who wasn't as good as Topper to neither fans of the band or his band members, he just didn't have the same energy or technique.

The band were increasingly separated by problems between Mick and Joe, with Paul becoming the go-between. The documentary flashes between film footage with great interviews of the people who worked behind the scenes, like their Tour Manager, who the audience found very funny with his input at times. It has some really defining moments with some shockingly horrific band member changes towards the end. Bernie actually had them dressing the same way, and even tried to look for a new singer once the band had officially broken up and despite Joe asking the last remaining members not to continue. The footage was very interesting and had snippets from The Clash films "Rude Boy" and "Hell W10". Overall, the film was informative and well written and I would definitely recommend taking yourself off to see this film, I give it a 10 out of 10. I have never written a review before so I hope I have given anyone who reads this some sort of idea of the film. Danny Garcia, thank you very much for this brilliant film on The Clash, I am sure they would agree with how you told the story". - Susan Bell

All photographs courtesy Beki Cowey. You can check out more of Beki's excellent photos on her site Beki Takes Pictures. For any commercial enquiries you can contact Beki by email

Director Danny Garcia & Journalist Chris Salewicz
DJ Scratchy Sounds (L) & Vive Le Rock's Eugene Butcher (Centre)
All Photos Beki Cowey
All images are strictly © Beki Cowey / Bekitakespictures (2012), further use is not permitted without prior consent, and unauthorised use in any media is prohibited.

With many thanks to Susan Bell, Danny Garcia and Beki Cowey.

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