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At 2pm Jim Garretts introduced himself as an obsessive Clash fan to a small group of people. Jim used to work at Salford in 1978, he remained here for 10 years so he knew the gallery very well. When he worked here, he bored his colleagues rigid with his constant talk about The Clash. He studied in London, between 1975 – 1978, when the Punk rock movement really got going. So, he was there in the initial stages of the growing scene. Jim talked quite fluently, and informative for almost an hour.


 There’s one clip I’m just going to show on the dvd before I start then I’ll go onto a PowerPoint presentation, which is basically about The Clash collection that I have. I collect Clash vinyl records, the discs. When The Clash started in the mid to late 70’s there wasn’t no internet, there weren’t dvd, there was no online downloading of music it was a 7,10 or 12 inch piece of plastic, which you had to put onto a record player . I decide that I would stick with that and there would be lots of re issues of Clash material in modern format quite understandably, but I tended not to collect those quite so eagerly. We’ll start off with an actual film clip”


Jim showed a clip from The Clash during their time in America at the high of their success,’ The Clash on Broadway’ in 1981. He went onto explain how this summed up the band really well as they were scheduled to play 5 nights in New York at a club called Bonds, but the fire department and legal problems ensued resulting in lot’s of problems. They said they had breached fire regulations as they had sold too many tickets. Obviously, fans weren’t happy at all and it caused some frustration and problems with the police, as we saw on the film clip. What happened in the end was The Clash decide to honour all the fans, and they said how many people can we get into the nightclub and then they spent all the time playing concert after concert until every one who had bought tickets had seen them. It meant some matinee sessions and they played something like 17 days, which of course hampered the rest of their touring schedule.


Jim continued with the talkThe last gang in town is the title of a book about The Clash by Marcus Gray, it is the actually track titles from their second album ‘Give em Enough Rope’. And, that’s what I have used for the title, so that’s me I now work in Leeds at The Museum of Medicine, nothing to do with The Clash at all”.


Jim introduced everyone who might not have seen the clash to each of the members, and explained what their roles were within the band. He began to collect in 1977 with their first album, he explain it is relatively easy to collect due to their short time span in comparison with say the likes of Bowie or The Rolling Stones. When The Clash’s first album came out if you were lucky you received a red sticker inside which you could then peel off, send off to the NME and you got a copy of the 7inch record ‘Capital Radio’. The first early albums are very collectable; he had to buy his at a record fair. He first saw The Clash in Victoria Park in Hackney at the Anti Nazi Festival in 30th April 1978 when he was studying in London. Headliners were The Tom Robinson Band, he showed his photo from the day. He went onto explain how he met Billy Bragg and he’d told him how his first time seeing the clash was at this very same concert and actually standing around the same point as Jim.

Jim collects vinyls, he talked about his albums, singles which he has managed to obtain. He showed us images of his various foreign discs, bootlegs, promotional discs, interview discs which were made for radio to make it appear like the band were in the studio.

1977 when The Clash started their company realised that there would be collectors and they brought out a variety of difference sleeves which were collectable. ‘White Man In Hammersmith’ in particular came in different colours, there were picture discs and different sleeves.

London Calling’ the single cover was produced in 3 different colours, both album and single covers designed by Ray Lowry, who Jim knew.


At this point it is probably worth me mentioning Ray Lowry, who I know you’ll be able to see back in the exhibition here. Ray Lowry designed both the single and the album sleeve of ‘London Calling’, for The Clash. He was actually quite aware of the history of CBS, because in fact he used the artwork from an original CBS sleeve; this is an early 10 inch 78 record that I bought. I only bought it for the wrap, because it’s wht was used for Londons Calling, and he actually used that and slightly adjusted it to prouduce the London Calling sleeve. I first met Ray when I was working here, he was one of the artists, in 1984,  who produced an exhibition in what is now the opposite gallery down there, called ‘1984’, for a number of artists, Neville Brodie, Stephen Appleby, Pete Diggle from the Buzzcocks brother Steve. There were about 5 or 6 artists who were asked to give their impressions of 1984, so obviously it was quite an important year in terms of the book ect. That’s when I first met Ray who of course came from Salford, Ray was a journalist who did cartoons for the New Musical Express, and he became quite friendly with The Clash and went on tour with them in 1979and some of the pictures he did on that tour are on show there. Oddly enough in 1985, when I got married I had been living in Sale, and moved to Rawtenstall in Rossendale, I hadn’t been there very long, and I was going into the local Asda superstore and I saw Ray Lowry coming out. I said to him what are you doing here in Rawtenstall, he said I’ve just moved here, he said what are you doing here, I said well I’ve just moved here. So neither of us knew we’d ended up in Rawtenstall in Rossendale. We tended to meet on various occasions, we’d bump into each other in the street, and I unfortunately wasn’t able to go to his funeral last year, he died towards the end of last year, but he had very patiently signed all my ‘London Calling’ singles and albums from various countries which are on display in the case”.


Bankrobber’ we were told how it wasn’t initially released into the UK and people who wanted to buy it had to buy the import. CBS thought it wasn’t going to do very well in the UK so was only released in Holland in two different sleeves in slightly different tracks, until it was finally released into the UK displaying a photo of Paul Simonon on the cover. ‘Bankrobber’ was performed on Top Of The Pops by Pan’s People dancers and it was the only Clash record Pan’s People ever performed on and not with The Clash’s permission really, Jim relayed back very well the dancers costumes at the time. One thing Led Zeppelin had in common with The Clash was that they both refused to perform live on the show.


In fact I remember I was an avid listener to the John peel, who was doing the nightly radio show. John Peel was a big fan of The Clash, and I remember regularly he would play a record, then say we are gonna go for a break for the news now and after the news I’ll be playing ‘Bankrobber’ by The Clash it was basically a veiled way of getting everybody enough time to get to their tape recorders and press record as they knew ‘BankRobber’ would be coming on. I actually did that until I got the original version of it. Eventually The Clash became more famous and CBS thought they’d better release it in England”.


When The Clash became famous it became obvious they were available for commercial exploitation and ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ was a fine example of a huge company using The Clash’s music to promote a product. The story is quite interesting. Levis Jeans were the company that picked on this track and used it in their advertising campaigns. One of Jim’s collections of this single features a sleeve showing Ronald Reagan on the cover,‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ being quite an apt title at the time for his career.


I think there was a little bit of distension in the band about which one should be the major player and Joe Strummer was very much in favour of ‘Straight To Hell’ being the major next single . Mick Jones wanted ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ certainly in America, CBS, didn’t want ‘Straight To Hell’, released in America it dealt particularly with the horrors of Vietnam war, it made explicit critical comments about the fate that a lot of American soldiers were left in and so when Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ was released in America it was released in this sleeve and ‘Straight To Hell’, wasn’t on the other side it was a track called ‘SOMETHING Confusion’. But never the less, Should I Stay Or Should I Go’ was released and it became very successful Epic even produced a one sided single, this actually just has nothing onto the other side, but you could buy it very cheaply.”


Albums get reissued, released in different countries and re titled so for Jim this meant more cash to spill out. He explained how the record company used to display a logo onto the albums which clearly showed it was illegal to copy onto a cassette, this was an attempt to prevent people lending it to their mates to copy. The Clash were quite happy for people to record their music, and The Clash insisted that this logo did not appear. Many versions of Clash albums appear in a wide variety of countries all over the world. In various foreign titles, which I’m not going to even try attempt to type out here.


This is a 4 record pack called‘The Clash pack’ released in the republic of Ireland, which featured singles ‘Londons Calling’, with complete different sleeve to the one released in England, ‘White Riot’, ‘Clash City Rockers’, and Rock The Casbah’. These two are different from the original sleeves. ‘Somebody Got Murdered’ is released in Spain as a single but never released in the UK that was a track from ‘The Sandanista’ album”.


Jim produced on the screen a square flexi disc displaying what appeared to be a Persian cat, this apparently comes from Poland. No ones knows were, or who the idea came from for this cat to appear on the sleeve and the disc, but Jim has one in his collection.


“This is probably the most bizarre, this is the single ‘London Calling’ produced in Poland, it’s not a black firm7 inch disc, it’s a plastic disc with a picture on. There is a picture of a pussy cat, the record is actually square, and a disc within the circle.” I saw this on ebay,why they choose a pussy cat I don’t know”.


So what happens before a record is released? Well Jim tells us that they make acetates, thick versions of tracks, to give away to DJ’s, and radio stations all singles are available as promotional copies. They have a large A on which means they are advanced copies made available before they are released to the public. So people will hear it and go out and buy it before it’s out in the shops as they have heard it on the radio.


Jim collects the promotional singles as well as the released versions and he has one of each. We were informed that The Clash released six albums and 18 singles during their spell.


There’s also the interview disc, often were you used to hear a rockstar on the radio talking to an interviewer, you might think that while you were listening to them they were actually in the studio, but more often than not the dj would be playing a record of an interview, this actually makes radio transmission much simpler because you know exactly how much time there is , where as in a live situation you know the artists start rabbitting on. When its pre done you know exactly how much time you’ve got, so it’s a lot easier. A lot of the interview discs with The Clash were produced in America, this is a really nice one produced by Westwood One, it’s a twin album, two LP’s, it’s got each remember of the clash on each side.”


Test pressing vinyl's, the letter from Kosmo Vinyl


“When I bought this it had a photo copied letter with it a man called Kosmos Vinyl, he became a spokesperson for The Clash in the 1980’s, and this was obviously churned out at a photo copier and sent out with every copy and it says, the address is Kosmo Vinyl, The Clash, New York City, it says Hello, I thought I would send you a white label copy of the new Clash 12 inch single, which is soon to be released on Epic records, there’s two tracks on each side. ‘Venix’ is from the Sandinista album,‘The Magnificent Dance ‘and backed with ‘The Call up’ and ‘The Cool Out’, I hope the record will be of some use until you get serviced with a copy from Epic, give it a spin Kosmo.”


The Bootlegs….


I counted 50 bootlegs, in my collection which just shows how many there are and I’m sure I haven’t got them all. This is a live album called ‘Klashing With The Clash’ this came in a brown sleeve with a stick on heart on the front and two records in it, the records have labels in the middle that don’t say The Clash or name the concert, they are basically a another. I think this is a way round the law, so if these get found they could be Buddy Holly or anyone, but if you play them it is actually The Clash.”

“They were constantly asked after they basically finished in 1985, would they reform for either Glastonbury, or Live Aid, or whatever. They constantly refused to do so and indeed once Joe Strummer passed away in 200,2 that really stopped it ever happening and so it never did, but I’m sure had they reformed for the concerts the bootlegs would continue to appear”.


“‘This one is a triple album called Clash Hits’ it’s superb quality, almost better than CBS produced, it really is a fabulous album, it’s one of my favourites. The bootleggers are not without their sense of humour, this record was produced at the time, when The Clash were having great personnel problems and the drummer Topper Headon became violently addicted to Heroin, to the extent that he was eventually totally unable to play concerts and eventually on the eve of the end of 1982 he left the band and had to be replaced by Terry Chimes to help them fulfil their tour. On the cover it says Joe Strummer – vocals, guitar, Mick Jones – vocals, guitar, Paul Simonon - Bass, Topper Headon - Rehab, Terry Chimes - Drums.”




“Those are the 19 countries I have represented in my collection, I think there are records in China but I’ve never seen them. I haven’t got all the records in all the country's by any means but it gives you a general idea”.


On Meeting The Clash


This is me with Joe Strummer, as a keen collector I learnt quite quickly that you could meet the band relatively easy by hanging around after the concert, and I met Joe Strummer at The Apollo Manchester on Monday 5th October 19 81 which was the first date of the one of The Clash tours, it was the tour called Radio Clash. That’s my ticket with it, I was in row B seat 25. It occurred to me shortly after this, that every time I went to a concert I had to either give up the whole of the ticket or part of the ticket to get in. So I very sadly began to buy an additional ticket, for every concert that I went to so I could get the whole ticket signed. This is an example; we went to see The Clash at the Victoria Hall in Hanley, in 1982. The tickets were just numbered tickets we got back, we got 99, 100 and 101, 101 was quite important because the band Joe Strummer was in before the clash was called the 101’ers, they were a pub band who took there name from 101 Walterton Road, which was a squat in London were they all lived. They released a single called ‘Key’s To Your Heart’ and that is the record sleeve. I asked Joe would he sign the ticket basically because it was 101, he put his pen around the number 101, which of course was nice.

These after concert parties and I went to maybe three or four, were the quietest and sedate affairs you could imagine, and the stories you hear about drug fuelled sex orgies, couldn’t be further from the truth, in the case of The Clash. Really it made sense cos they’d just played a 2 hour set, and they basically had time to get showered and changed, and they were knackered. There wasn’t even any alcohol there, at these parties, there was orange juice and coffee, and tea and little bowls of nuts, and ya know cheesy watsits. It was very quiet and sedate, there’d be  a ghetto blaster in the corner playing some blues music or some reggae, and it was all very quiet and very polite”.


Whilst I enjoyed it a great deal, I would of loved to hear more of the personal stories, how he got into The Clash where he saw them. What his favourite memory of meeting the band was ect.


A selection of Jim's collection in the glass case, alongside Ray Lowry's cartoons & artwork on the wall above.

 RAY LOWRY- The gallery is just a small selection of some of his painting and cartoons; it doesn't feature many Clash images from the tour though to our disappointment. It does however show his recent works of Eddie Cochran & Gene Vincent who died tragically.


MICHAEL CUDDY - Other artists on display include Michael's work featuring famous Manchester Artists.

SALFORD MAP - On show is the Salford Map, which shows bands and interesting events which have taken place over the years in and around Salford. Get your free map as well while your here.


QUIFFS, RIFFS AND TIFFS EXHIBITION - Features music from the 50's right to current music in Manchester, some interesting artefacts on show. Peter Hook has his own glass display with his personal Bass with his leather jacket and even down to his original Free Trade Hall Sex Pistols ticket. The jacket featured in the movie '24 Hour Party People' and 'Control’.

Peter Hook's - Sex Pistol ticket June 4th 1976 - 50p (number 23)





There's something here for everyone and well worth a trip when you’re in town.


Visit Salford Museum.(Even my 80yr old Mother enjoyed it as you can see here)