Spain played a pivotal role in a crucial period of Joe Strummer’s career. In 1985 the birthplace of his 101ers-era girlfriend Palm Olive and beloved murdered poet Lorca became not so much a refuge as a place where, as he put it, he came to feel the pain of the wound caused by the fallout of The Clash’s ignominious end.
Filmmaker Hall’s search for the enigmatic Spanish-American motor Strummer left in a Madrid car park on a dash to London for the birth of his daughter proves fruitless but emblematic.
Interviews with Strummer’s first wife Gaby, members of Clash MK 2, 091 and Radio Futura (the latter two Spanish bands he produced and confided in) are revealing. Strummer emerges as a somewhat sensitive but prickly character, arriving incognito but soon enough holding court and calling the shots.
The documentary narrative may be rambling at times and ultimately inconclusive, but the warts-and-all insights into Strummer’s character it allows prove illuminating./o:p