Monday, December 28, 2009

the Nourallah Brothers take in the Clash

Brad Austin was a kid who lived down the street from us
he had some sort of California surfer Spicoli thing going on
with a mop top of curly thick blonde hair
his house was always freakishly dark and at the time i was too naive to realize this
but i think he was stoned out of his mind all the time
i’d recently been demoted to the Morehead middle school
C band
for misbehaving with music charts
(i could never actually read them – i always played by ear and faked it)
so i found myself temporarily humiliated and sitting right behind my kid brother and the rowdy sax section
Faris and his friends were prone to intentionally ferocious non-musical blasts from their saxophones
Brad was in that section too with another kid named Sander Starr
Sander was the purveyor of cool
he seemed to be the one the other misfit kids were following
anyway B and S were into this kind of music we’d never heard before
it was called punk rock
they listened to bands with names like Jody Foster’s Army and the Dead Kennedys
we didn’t like it
it was too noisy and stupid with not enough melody
one day Brad and Sander showed up to band class with a punk rock songbook
i caught a glimpse of the front cover
THE CLASH was stenciled all over it in military style writing
i liked how it looked
Faris said “lemme see it!”
he flipped through it and i peered over his shoulder
the black and white photos looked cool
i asked if i could check it out too
i read some words
i liked them
“they offered me the office, offered me the shop
they said i’d better take anything they got
do you wanna make tea at the BBC?
do you really wanna be, do really wanna be a cop?”

later that day F and i had a discussion
“we should ask Brad if we can borrow his Clash record”
i vividly remember my brother and i marching up Constellation
to Brad Austin’s house on Stonebluff
the late afternoon sun beat down on our furrowed pre-pubescent brows
it was almost as if John Waters had collided with an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack
we were on a serious mission
the future of rock’n’roll hung in the balance
once the much sought after Clash vinyl was in our possession
we marched back to our house
and made a beeline to my bedroom
i set up the turntable and the first song came shooting out
“he’s in love with rock ‘n’ roll, woah
he’s in love with getting stoned, woah
he’s in love with Janie Jones, woah
he don’t like his boring job no…”
it was loud and fast
we’d never heard someone sing like that
“what’s the singer’s name?” F asked
“uh…says here - Joe Strummer”
guttural bellowing
emphatic and furious
we looked at each other quizzically
we kept listening intently
taking it all in
processing the information
my back was up against the side of my bed
ears positioned equidistant between the large Pioneer speakers
our father had bought us for writing 500 pages of prose and poetry
we liked the Clash
they had good tunes and good words
they looked cool too
we were hook lined and sunk


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes!!! Vivid and sweet and punk rock DIY all at the same time. I love this!


10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were visited with simply brilliant idea

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't forget. Ever. Count on it.

9:09 AM  

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