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A Riot of Our Own: Night and Day with the Clash Paperback – February 12, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (February 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571199577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571199570
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Chronicles of the 1970s punk era aren't scarce by any means, but Johnny Green's narrative escapes the multiple traps of dried-out historical reportage, sociological analysis, and glory taking. Instead, he offers a certain worm's-eye vantage point on the advance of the Clash's career. A Belfast college grad when he met the band in 1977, Green accompanied them on endless tours, and he describes various episodes with a mix of detailed dialogue and picaresque humor. The Clash don't get the lavish hagiographic treatment one might expect from a fan. They come off, rather, as funny characters--intensely charged and, of course, young, sometimes-stumbling artists with insurmountable energy for performances. Green describes clearing the spit off band members' instruments in the same way that he recalls losing the demo tapes of London Calling. And then it all winds to an uneventful close, as so many things do (remember T.S. Eliot's maxim, "This is the way the world ends, the world ends, the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper"?). There's not even a whimper here, though, just Green announcing to the band--at their career peak, on the London Calling tour in the U.S.--that he wanted to see more of North America. Such a low-key ambition to end such a high-key narrative! Nonetheless, this is an essential document in the annals of punk. --Andrew Bartlett

From Publishers Weekly

Green was road manager for the Clash in the late 1970s and his account of the band's life reads like a training manual for his current job as a sex and drug education adviser. Green's tale, coauthored with freelance journalist Barker, documents the period preceding London Calling, an album many consider the band's masterpiece. The authors cheerfully relate tales of the Clash's alcohol and drug abuse, violence and general punk rock hijinks as if they were proudly recounting battle stories over coffee at the conclusion of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. The book's amiable, chatty tone is at times befuddling. For one thing, the writers pepper their book with unintelligible English slang. Another cause for confusion is the omission of dates and places. Green's love of the Clash and thrilled recounting of the band's anecdotes compensates for the lack of what is conventionally considered history. Instead, his gleeful put-downs?of punk icons (Siouxsie Sioux, Richard Hell), record company suits ("They would have applauded a fart down a flute") and the band itself (particularly Mick Jones, who always had the ego of a rock star, even while he was living with his grandmother)?are consistently amusing. Ray Lowry (cartoonist for NME) has illustrated the book, giving it a fanzine feel that complements the casual prose. The descriptions of concerts and recording sessions should enchant anyone interested in the history of punk, and make this book a must for Clash fans. 16 b&w photos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Will Errickson on February 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
What a blast! I read this book in one day, I just could not get enough of its personal, unpretentious and colorful tone. Johnny Green has written a sly, thoughtful, and very sharp memoir of his days with the almighty Clash. Here one actually sees the courage and stamina and wit it took to be a punk rock band in the 70s--Green writes vividly of the police troubles, the riots and the madness (and poverty) of life on the road. He also does a great job of sketching the personalities of the Clash men: Strummer comes off the best, with his man-on-the-street persona, his gentle whisper in conversation, his concern for his downtrodden fans, and his insatiable interest in life around him. Jones is the prima donna, a "muso" with a definite vision for his band, fueled by coke, pot and women. Simonon is the sharp, funny, beautiful one, very cool. Topper's spiral into drug abuse begins near the book's end--he's the guy that just goes along, but Green always seems impressed by his talent. We see here how The Clash were truly trailblazers; albums like "London Calling" and "Give 'em Enough Rope" are among the finest British rock'n'roll ever recorded. I love this book, found it more insightful than the recent bio, "Last Gang in Town"; the Clash finally became real people to me, involved with the real world and people of all types. The Clash still remain, for me, the Only Band That Matters. Thanks to Johnny Green for putting his story to paper! (and after all this, won't you give me a smile???)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Donny Danger on May 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book on Joe Strummer's recommendation in a recent interview... but if this is the best book about the Clash then that is a shame... it is another one of those dry accounts by a "bystander/not a writer" who rifled through their diary and patched together a string of less-than-remarkable anecdotes until he had enough pages for a book.
For someone who hung out with the Clash on a daily basis for several years I would have expected more insight into their personalities. Many of the "stories" related left me wondering why he thought that was interesting enough to mention.
If you are a die-hard Clash fan you do get some snippets of insight into their day-to-day working methods while rehearsing for and recording the classics "Give 'Em Enough Rope" and "London Calling" but, beyond that, it is little more than another boring rock&roll travelogue offering scant depth, details, or juice.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A.A. on November 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Man, I really wanted to like this book. You won't find a bigger Clash fan than me, and books about them are scarce and usually re-tell the same stories over and over again. I was hoping that this one, written by Johnny Green (the Clash's former road manager), would provide some new insight into the band and the period of time as a whole.
Very few new things are revealed. Mick Jones seems difficult, Joe Strummer is idealistic, Paul is handsome and charismatic, and Topper is stoned. Drugs and alcohol flow freely, but is that new? No, not really. The author himself spends much of the book commenting on his own intoxicated state, which often leads to *hilarious* anecdotes where he is naked/driving a bus/throwing sound equiptment into the Thames.
I realized how disappointed I was with this book when I found myself obsessing over a two-sentance mention Johnny Green makes about not paying child support. Why should I even notice this? At the end of reading this book, all I wanted to do was smack Johnny Green's big, drunk face with a boot and scream, "I don't care how much coke you snorted, stop talking about it already!" His narration (which often sounds like the rambling of the big goon at the party who won't shut up about his glory days doing keg stands) gets in the way of really detailing the personalities of much of the band. Like, he'll begin an anecdote about the Clash's intensity onstage, only to interrupt it to describe whatever he was drinking. Other reviewers have mentioned how his relationship with the band is hard to figure out, and I agree. Is he a close family member? Or more a member of the crew?
Day-to-day descriptions are pretty good, though, and there are enough occasionally revealing anecdotes about the band to keep the reader hoping for more. The best thing would be if a member of the band writes a book, I guess. Please, Joe Strummer?
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book in one sitting quite easily. It was a blast to read, with one hilarious anecdote after another. And Green really does do a good job of conveying the excitement and innovation that surrounded the Clash, making you understand why they truly did matter so much. The personalities in the band definitely come out - in the case of Mick Jones, not really in a terribly flattering manner. Strummer on the other hand seems incapable of doing any wrong and comes off golden. The truth undoubtedly lies somewhere in the middle, but you will not doubt that everyone in the band was absolutely committed to the music - even Jones, whom Green describes as incapable of buying his own milk, admirably performs shortly after having his hand slammed in a car door. A great read, without pretentious social analysis - just a well-written book about one of the world's greatest rock bands.
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