The Clash - Westway
37 images Created 26 May 2012
If you keep walking all the way down London's Portobello road, way past the tourists, the bric-a-brac stalls and antique shops and you will eventually find yourself under the A40 Westway. These days most of the arches under this motorway flyover form part of a West London urban cultural complex, with an impressive collection of cool restaurants, trendy clubs, art galleries and boutiques. Once a year the shops and restaurants are boarded up, roads are blocked off and the area reverts to a former urban self as the focal point of the infamous Notting Hill Carnival. During this august bank holiday carnival the real heat of the event will be found under and around these motorway arches. It is here you can find the coolest sound systems, the best jerk chicken stalls, and as always, it's the place where trouble starts.%0ATowards the end of 1977 the Westway boasted none of its present day urban beautification. Instead it was just another post war depressed, undeveloped, graffiti covered wasteland with a grey 60's concrete elevated urban freeway overshadowing the neighborhood. The previous year the area was host to the infamous 1976 Notting Hill Carnival riots. Tempers had reached boiling point among young black men over police use of the "sus" law, under which anybody could be stopped, searched and held. A refined version of the law still angers locals today in 2012. Windows were smashed, fires were lit and ill-equipped police officers picked up dustbin lids and milk crates to charge the rioters. More than 100 officers and 60 other people were taken to hospital. A year later the post riot debris was still in evidence. This was surely the ideal inner city location for a Clash photo-session. Most of the band only had to take a short stroll from home to the location. It was a bright sunny day and everyone was in a great mood the band were own home turf. After one hour we had finished, with no makeup, no stylists or art directors or press officers to delay things. Simple and fast, organic and relaxed, the best way to take photographs.