This is what is sometimes referred to as an “iconic image.” (It’s actually featured in the Birmingham Museum of Art’s “Who Shot Rock and Roll?” exhibit. That’s how come I know it’s an officially iconic image.)
You might ask: of whom is this an “iconic image?” First I would say: how come you’re talking funny like that? And then I would say: why, it’s The Clash, of course! Specifically bassist Paul Simonon. Smashing his, well, his bass guitar. On stage! Which is a very punk rock thing to do! And The Clash is/was (were?) arguably the quintessential punk band of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Thus, the equation looks something like this:
Quintessential punk band × bassist doing something quintessentially punk ÷ (nearby photographer + camera) = iconic image.
Today in 8th period, we’ll be watching a documentary about The Clash and about punk music and about how those things influenced and were influenced by their Cultural Moment. Then on Thursday the right honorable polymath, Mr. Slatton, will lead the lucky 8th-period-folk in a discussion of these and other related matters as he sees fit.
If you’re in the 9th period class, you’ll be lucky in a different way: you’ll get to see the actual photo above in the Who Shot Rock-and-Roll exhibit on Thursday afternoon! Just remember to bring your $8 admission for a ticket.
Regardless of whether you’re in the 8th period class or the 9th period one or neither one at all, here are a couple of items of interest to fill in some of the details re: The Clash.
- First, here’s a seminal profile/interview piece with the band in Rolling Stone magazine circa 1979 (hey!).
- Second, here’s a recent retrospective interview with Mikal Gilmore, the writer of the article, in last February’s issue of Rolling Stone.