The Clash - Belfast
36 images Created 26 May 2012
October 1977 The Clash "Get Out Of Control" tour was supposed to start in Belfast and I was sent along by CBS to cover the opening night and to grab some off stage shots of the band in Belfast. The gig at Belfasts Ulster Hall was cancelled at the last minute, befor even a sound check could take place. Officially it was because of insurance problems. However rumours were circulating suggesting that Joe Strummer had received a death threat. Either way the cancellation resulted in heavy handed police enforcement which left the disappointed fans and the band angry, sad, confused and helpless.%0ASo instead of a sound check I was to do a photo-session with the clash, a simple walk about, black and white, location photo-session. Here we are, so lets make the most of it. The day was a typical overcast grey autumn day, with a slow drizzle in the air. Stepping out of the fortified Europa hotel, then the most bombed hotel in Europe, with the band and friend artist and activist Caroline Coon. We climbed into a car, a taxi, with the intention of finding a suitable urban landscape for the photosession. Over breakfast that morning I was strongly advised that it might be dangerous to take the band out into the city for what I described would be a wander. Belfast was in the midst of the troubles and anything could happen, it was dangerous so go somewhere safe, the High Street or the Park or perhaps the hotel lobby would do. This was the advice.%0AI was young then, and inifinitely more cavalier than I am today. So when someone in the group asked where the falls road was and why can't we go and look, nobody in the car so much as blinked. The driver oblivious to the value of his passengers, treating us like any other fare did a U-turn and headed off towards the Falls road. The exact opposite to the advice I was given, and I didn't try to insist otherwise. In mitigation, at the time I only had a vague idea of the importance of the Falls Road as a location for "The Troubles" rather than a Cllash photo-session.%0AAnyway the photo-session proceeded without any hint of trouble, no bad vibes, nothing. The locals we met we're friendly, even the British Army lads on duty at every street corner were friendly. We wandered around climbed back into the car, found another war zone location, and another and then returned to the Europa our scalps intact.%0AThe following week the images graced the covers of all three weekly music papers, The N.M.E. The Melody Maker and Sounds. CBS were thrilled, they even forgave me for putting one of their top acts at risk.