The British press this morning is filled with tributes to Joe Strummer, a reminder of the importance that the country still attaches to the rise of punk rock in the late 1970s. This is more than just a question of musical taste or the durability of the wider punk aesthetic. Those often crude chord progressions and shouted-out lyrics turned out to have a real historical importance. They formed the soundtrack for the drama that was the collapse of Britain’s cozy, but crumbling, collectivist post-war consensus, a crisis that led, ironically, enough not to the sort of socialist republic that Strummer might have wanted – but to Mrs. Thatcher.
As for Strummer himself, he never gave up his left-wing politics, but the Daily Telegraph notes with more than a touch of satisfaction that the “former public [private] schoolboy’s lifestyle was not entirely unconventional. He read the Daily Telegraph…”