Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Clang, Clang Go The Jail Guitar Doors


It always amazes me when artists, athletes, actors, or even 'gasp', musicians get smacked down for trying to do the right thing.

After all, what could people like that possibly have to add to our civil society when we've got a creme de la creme of used car salesmen, real estate agents, oil oligarchs, spooks, and a guy who was handed a baseball team by his Poppy's friends running the world.

But there is no way the smear merchants, the screamers, or even Rex Murphy, can win when musicians use music to help their fellow man.

Which is exactly what Billy Bragg and Mick Jones are doing with a program Mr. Bragg calls 'Jail Guitar Doors'.

Jail Guitar Doors is an independent initiative set up by Billy Bragg with the aim of providing musical equipment for the use of inmates serving time in Her Majesty's prisons. It takes its name from the b-side of the Clash's 1978 single 'Clash City Rockers'. In an appeal to fellow musicians, Billy writes:

“Aware that this year sees the fifth anniversary of the passing of Joe Strummer, I was hoping to be involved in more than just another tribute gig. Hearing the Clash as a 19 year old had changed my life, so I guess I was looking for a project that underscored the transformative power of music. Inspiration arrived in the shape of a letter from Malcolm Dudley, a drug and alcohol counsellor working at HMP Guy's Marsh near Shaftesbury in Dorset."

So - go give them money, or, if you have the connections, start bugging our own legends of lotuslandia to fire up a local chapter*.


*Assuming, of course, that Mr. Keithley has gotten over that incident at the Gardens in 1981...
Credit-where-credit-is-due: A reverse tip-o-le-chapeau to Elizabeth Renzetti for her pro-j piece in the Globe.


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