In the summer of 1982, I met the Clash in Austin, TX. It was a brief hello facilitated by some French rockabilly cats who had befriended Paul Simonon. The band was in town to shoot the video for Rock The Casbah and play two crazed shows at the City Coliseum and handing out beer to a bunch of kids at the hotel's pool was perfectly cool by them.
Surprisingly, in hindsight, hanging with a famous punk band seemed a simple matter of course, nothing to even write home about. We weren't jaded culture junkies, we were interested. No autographs requested, no photos snapped. Meeting idols today is so different. TV and gossip rags don't make you more familiar with celebs they sadly differentiate you from them. Punk in theory was never about that. I've often thought about those shows at the Coliseum and how fucking violent it was, fighting and screaming "fuck the casbah" in the sweltering heat but I've never reflected much on the Clash sharing a poolside beer with me at the Crest Inn. That was just so normal for Austin in 1982. Things were cool. The Clash were cool.
Time flies, airplanes crash.
Note: Right behind the marquee in the distance is the Crest Inn Hotel. At the time it was the tallest building in Austin next to the State Capitol and the UT Tower. It's now a place people go to watch bats fly off into the evening sky.
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