Tuesday 10 September 2013

The Clash - Black Market Clash Pop-Up Store Opening Party

Mick Jones by Paul Slattery
Last Friday, we went along to the opening of the new Black Market Clash "Pop-Up" store on Berwick Street in Soho and were very impressed with the range of memorabilia on display. Set up with the intention to promote the brand new "Sound System" ghetto blaster box set, and yet another Greatest Hits compilation, the store avoids being a tacky record company marketing ploy by heavily involving the three surviving band members in all aspects of the design and content. So, fans are treated to a superb collection of memorabilia from the band's own personal archives, much of which has never been on display before, so it is well worth a visit for any fan of The Clash. There are a selection of photos, record sleeves and gig posters. My highlights were the famous paint splattered boiler suits, the "Combat Rock" military stage gear, Joe Strummer's typewriter and handwritten lyric sheets and set lists and his "Ignore Alien Orders" guitar. But the real jewel in the crown is Paul Simonon's smashed up bass, last seen taking a battering in Pennie Smith's iconic cover of "London Calling".

So, onto the opening night party and in attendance were Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon along with an impressive cast of Clash family members, friends and personalities including Johnny Green, their old road manager and author of "A Riot of Our Own", Ray Jordan, their trusty bodyguard, "Stay Free" inspiration Robin Banks, DJ Don Letts, "Rude Boy" star and DJ Ray Gange, "London Calling" cover and "The Clash: Before and After" photographer Pennie Smith, ex-Clash drummer Terry Chimes, the excellent author and music journalist Kris Needs, Gaz Mayall from Gaz's Rockin' Blues club and The Trojans, Carl Barat from The Libertines, ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, Punk Poet John Cooper Clarke, "The Clash: Passion Is a Fashion" author Pat Gilbert and Joe Strummer's "Redemption Song" biographer Chris Salewicz amongst others. Then, there was  also a smattering of other celebrities such as comedian Harry Enfield, TV presenter Jonathan Ross, DJ Nick Grimshaw and actress Sadie Frost.

Paul Simonon and ex-Pistol Glen Matlock by Paul Slattery
My Retro Man Blog colleague, photographer Paul Slattery, who worked closely with The Clash, has one of his photos of the band in Paris on display and one on the cover of the reprint of the "Armagideon Times" magazine included in the "Sound System" box-set. He has also kindly contributed some of his photos of the opening night party along with some rare shots of the band in their prime. Paul Slattery explains: "Here's Paul Simonon and "Pressure" at the Orpheum Boston 19/09/79. Probably one of the last photos of it being played, as two days later it was smashed by Paul at The Palladium in New York, and the ensuing image taken by Pennie Smith was immortalised on the front cover of "London Calling"."

And here's the smashed up bass on display...


Here's Joe's "Ignore Alien Orders" 1966 Fender Telecaster guitar on display.

"Joe and "Ignore Alien Orders" at the Roxy Harlesden on 25/10/78. Joe's favourite guitar".

Here are some more of Paul Slattery's excellent photos from the opening night.

The Black Market Clash Store
Ray Jordan and Johnny Green
Memorabilia including a Paul Slattery photo from the Mogador Paris 25/09/81
Don Letts & John Cooper Clarke
Comedian Harry Enfield with Paul Simonon
Flight cases and speakers on display
Photographs above are strictly copyright Paul Slattery 2013 and cannot be reproduced or copied without prior consent. Paul Slattery has two photography books published by Omnibus Press entitled "Oasis: A Year On The Road" and "The Smiths: The Early Years". You can hear Paul talk about his early experiences as a music photographer in our Retrosonic Podcast specials, and we hope to be covering his time spent with The Clash in a future episode.

Paul Simonon with photographer Paul Slattery - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Black Market Clash Pop-Up Store can be found at 75 Berwick Street, Soho, London, it's opposite Sister Ray Records and is open Mon-Sat 12-8pm and Sundays 11am-5pm until September 22nd. It has been curated by Robert Gordon McHargh III from the Subway Gallery (Joe Strummer Underpass, Edgware Road), who previously hosted Mick Jones' superb "Rock 'n' Roll Public Library" collection, which you can read about on the Blog here.

For more photos, please head on over to the Retro Man Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the photo album.


  1. This is so wonderful....Bring this to America....but make sure everybody in attendance comes with.
    Peace & Love
    Dorothy Orant Morrison

  2. Back in '76Joe told me that he had the pickups of that guitar rewound so that it was all treble. It was his way of cutting through Mick's sound and why it made such a racket. Great to se it again.

  3. It was great to meet you and Paul on Friday and what great photos- I especially like the one of Paul and Glen. X Chrissy

  4. Dorothy: you never know...if they release "Sound System" in the USA they might just do that!

    Jonh: Nice story, thanks for posting

    Chrissy: Good to meet you too, did you do a feature on the night too? Email me if you did with links etc...

  5. Just bring it a couple of hundred miles north and I'd be happy. Manchester please.