Thursday, October 07, 2004

THE MAN SPIES ON THE BAND: Following on from the release of the CIA's secret papers on John Lennon (we've not seen them, but we're guessing "terrible bore" and "unlikely to indulge in any activity that would harm property prices" features heavily), The Clash are worrying about what information the British Government holds on them:

London Calling legends Mick Jones and Paul Simonon believe the British government were so frightened by their actions in their late '70s heyday that they instructed MI5 to compile a dossier about the band.
Simonon says of the existence of the MI5 file: "There probably is, yes, alongside the file of the Sex Pistols.
"It's hard to fully appreciate now, but we certainly stood out back then, we really made a noise.
"It wasn't just us, it was every punk - anyone, in fact, who wasn't wearing flares was making a big political noise that terrified the government."


You'll note, of course, that there's no actual indication that there is a file, just the belief of the relaxed radical that there must be. Wouldn't they be crushed if it turned out there was nothing?


5 comments:

Robin Carmody said...

I think that ought to read "MI5 were so frightened by the British government's actions from 1974-79 that they compiled a dossier about the government". And I certainly doubt that the government asked MI5 to compile a dossier about The Clash; in those days the security services did *everything* of their own accord, right down to plotting against an elected government. At least the Tories bequeathed NuLab a situation where MI5 was (at least in theory, and at least to a certain extent) accountable to government and compelled to (at least attempt to) defend its actions to government ...

simon h b said...

and, of course, there was also the Economic League, a subscription based service who'd cut letters out of local papers complaining about, say, poor services and add the writer's name to a file of subversives that companies may wish to not employ.

Made more or less redundant by the usenet archive, I suppose...

Anonymous said...

Robin, when are you going to make that link into something we can use? I'll just have to assume you're Robin Ramsay in the meantime.

--Alan Connor

Robin Carmody said...

Profile's working now, Alan, and I'm posting under my full name. I suppose it is somewhat ironic that I share a first name with the editor of Lobster and author of "Smear! Wilson and the Secret State", but I can't say I think about it any more than I think about sharing a name with a Bee Gee or the Archbishop of Canterbury's favourite pop/rock lyricist.

I don't know you from ILM, do I, Alan?

Jodi said...

That's a quote from the Cash For Questions section of the latest issue of Q Magazine. It's a pretty light-hearted response to the question, actually. They weren't being serious. It just sounds that way when taken out of context.

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