Joe Strummer (Mellor) died around this day 17 years ago, not too old but old enough to leave an exceptionally eclectic legacy of undeniable mightiness.
His silver form hangs proudly in a 150 year old grain barn in provincial Japan in a beloved photo by (Vancouver treasure) Bev Davies from the US festival (the last show with Joe and Mick) in 1983 & has recently made friends with another version of himself from the same year, running the London marathon captured by Steve Rapport (former UK, now Pacifica, California and just releasing a book full of Joe/The Clash photos #PreOrder).
Hopping the stage and singing “White Riot” for the encore in 1984 (yes yes I know ya purists “out of control” wasn’t the *real*… oh forget it… and no way I could’ve got to the show at the Kerrisdale Arena a few years before with The Special’s playing and you know I would’ve loved that but born in 1970 is great for many things)
Take what you can take
and stage diving in front of Joe will always remain near the top of my list of “noteworthy life accomplishments” – I was 13, took the bus in from the suburbs, and stuck my dorky glasses in my jeans pocket and headed into the pit, completely overcome and immersed by this massive sound *and* songs which “really said something”.
I “celebrate his whole catalog ;)” from the 101’s, to The Clash, to Earthquake Weather etc, to the Mescaleros, to filling in with the Pogues, to hanging out at campfires at Glastonbury. And hear his legacy living on through voices from Billy Bragg to Don Letts and so many others.
Route 19 revisited
West Way to the world
The future is unwritten
PS if you need even more The Clash goodness, dig up a BBC audio video collage style film made on the streets of London around 1979, it’s so weirdly awesome great. (I’d’ve pasted here but I can’t figure out new word press blog thingie blah blah blah)
Oh here it is:
Oh yeah, dig this Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Live In Roseland Ballroom, New York / familair classics with the Mescas world beat flair
Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals, wallets and whatnot – diligently scanned and dated via glasses and haircuts, lightly annotated).
The 2nd of a couple of VOM fanzines i did with Kamel / he was the ringleader, i was the “associate editor”.
This #2 had with Joey Ramone at the Commodore on the cover (bev. davies photo) and i was “upgraded” from contributor to associate editor from vol. 1 #bigtime
Vol. 2 was printed at my Mom’s real estate office on Scott rd. and ended up costing way too much to reproduce despite stealing paper from a nearby elementary school.
Along with Ramones at The Commodore, included reviews of Dead Kennedys at York Theatre, Hot Spot Dancers interview, The Dull and a big ad from Toxic Shock records which was the best part of the making the fanzine (records!) So much good music and lively scenes.
Note: (repeated elsewhere…) Kamel was a force of nature, a complete reckless maniac but just got things done and while i didn’t get “credit” so much, I learned a lot about hustling productions and rolling yer own media & used knowledge to get into loads of shows and help out bands.
One of a couple of VOM fanzines i did with Kamel / he was the ringleader, i was the ummm assistant.
This #1 includes (among interviews with bands Bill of Rights, Unknown Fibres, Shanghai Dog) a fake concert review of the “Ultimate Trendies” which was Kamel, me, Brad and Frank Baker doing a Sex Pistols air band at my church gymnasium (we didn’t win) + real reviews of actual great shows at York Theatre. #2 had with Joey Ramone at the Commodore on the cover.
Kamel was a force of nature, a complete reckless maniac but just got things done and while i didn’t get “credit” so much, I learned a lot about hustling productions and rolling yer own media & used knowledge to get into loads of shows and help out bands.
Me: Remember working on VOM fanzine in his basement bedroom while his dead grandmother laid “in state” upstairs and all the relatives came to visit. Also, riding buses to the York Theatre with him & Brad Rees many times.
VxOxMx vol 1 “masthead” – I “upgraded” from contributor to associate editor by volume two #bigtime
VxOxMx vol 2 was printed at my Mom’s real estate office on scott rd. Featuring Joey Ramone photo by Bev Davies
Dan Walters: Ha! My drawing on there…and the letraset I swiped from school. Shit, haven’t seen these in 34 years. Cheers
Me: Also Dan Walters Glad I could surprise and amuse you with those VOM artifacts after all the goodness you share out to the Internet. My time in the “scene” was obviously aborted with the move to Utah so your documentation helps me fill in the gaps that I missed out on.
PS worth noting that ending up in Utah with my punk concert experiences in Vancouver and a fake ID, made it a lot of fun. Saw & played in lots of bands, got backstage, “media” access blah blah blah
Kai Erichsen: I remember you Dave. And the photocopy fiasco at your mom’s work lol! Fuck we were all so broke but we made shit happen. Fun!
Dave Olson: Kai Erichsen i heard about that from her for yeeeeaaaarrsss – ha!
Kai Erichsen: Kamal stole the paper too… boxes of it.
Dan Walters: Kai- we broke into my old elementary school and ditched boxes of paper in the bushes, went back and got them after dark, lol.
Dave Olson: Kai Erichsen yeah we’d roll into Cedar Hills elementary school and just take it. i remember some “adult” trying to stop us one time and we just kept going – hanging with you and Kamel made me feel a lot tougher and taller!
Continuing with chronicling collections of Collections￼ in the Kura Grain Barn turned studio (needs a new name) / now featuring: a working stereo and shelves laden with goodness, including: scrapbooks, journals, collections, vinyl, more vinyl and lederhosen.
Here’s a little overview:
Your buddy here has a new TEAC analog manual turntable, a now-working six disc CD changer,￼ Onkyo amp & tuner, working L *&* R speakers and a few hundred LPs / Not to mention endless CDs, a few boxes of cassettes (mostly by garage bands and so on￼), buncha 7” & 10” vinyl / also has a line-in 3.5mm jack if needed. Going to have fun up here with the new kiddo￼!
Secured a couple of cheap and cheerful bookcases to the wall with “L” brackets for safety
Started loading up with my *elegantly curated literature assortment* ™
Unboxed some selected CDs / mostly box sets and signed specialty items so far
At least everything is out of cardboard boxes and starting to readjust to the (dim) light
Also got a bit of art on the walls with a Bev Davies corner > stereo situation still need some love but… one revolution at a time￼￼
Artifact dossier: Collage art boards from “Forgotten Vancouver Stories (aka Poets, Punks and Revolutions)” spiel presented in various formats at Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver, All-start edition, and Northern Voice 2013 closing keynote. Video and roundup of both prezos exists elsewhere in this archive.
Each collage “slide” was handmade (obviously) with ephemera from my personal collection (exceptions credited on final “slide”) then, arranged on hemp cloth “storyboards”, photographed by Rachel Ashe, then disassembled. An analog to digital remix of sorts. Presented here in rather large size for your printing/screensaver/ amusement and posterity.
In-depth discussion with rock art photographer bev. davies including: hippie days with Neil Young and Joan Anderson (Joni Mitchell), shooting punk pioneers DOA and Subhumans, Motörhead in a park, David Bowie in a stadium, Brian Jonestown Massacre flipping off crowd and so many more. Also stories from backstage with Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister, Nardwuar collaborations, Duran Duran posing at soundcheck, and remarks about various Vancouver venues.
Plus insights about role of photographer as artist, conundrums of accreditation and access, reasons for a long hiatus, crafting the perfect shot, shoes versus sneakers, origins of calendars and exhibits, and plans for a book. Recorded August 2010 in Strathcona, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What follows are my notes for a talk called “On the Road to Creativity” for Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver. The format includes 20 slides for 20 seconds each, auto-changed. As such, the pace is brisk and a bit of a high-wire act. No audio/video exists but there is a “roundup” of photos, tweets, and other artifacts including the hand-crafted “paper-point” collage slides. See “Consider Perusing” below.
1 – On the roadI’ve spent much of my life wandering around the globe working odd jobs including mushroom farmer in Japan, grape picking in Germany, beach club host in Guam and even following the Grateful Dead – all these experiences provided lots of time for thinking mostly about the meaning of art and importance of documentation – here’s what i cam up with
2 Art makes the futurewhile the history we learn is laden with the stories of kings, conquerers, popes and rulers, the only reason we know anything about how people lived, loved and thought is because artists took the time to chronicle the the stories through paint, words, carvings, and song. From the earliest cave painters to bloggers, there is vast evidence for the importance of storytelling.
3 Art Craft SchwagNo doubt today like olden times, there is a tremendous amount of disposable pop culture created to satiate common interest but the best stuff created by diligent artisans rises above the layer of schlock into the territory of craft and then transcends into a rarified area of art which will last centuries rather than 15 minutes. But who decides what is art? And don’t give me that “i know what i like” answer.
4 Craft + IntentInstead I’ve made a formula to sort out these largely subjective criteria – first off, take Craft – skill honed from thousands of hours of consideration, then add Intent – which, while subjective, can be gauged by heart of the creator, and then multiplied by the artist’s Integrity as seen by an audience. The audience who truly breathes life into a story, no matter the medium. This formula doesn’t work for you? Cool, make another, but be sure to share. Art does not live in a vacuum, art yearns to be shared.
5 Audience / Awesome But this can be tricky for artists who must balance their internal desire and, dareisay mission, to create authentic art with the often debilitating practical need to make a living. I’ve found that my projects which garner the biggest audience, are not necessarily the ones which i maximize my artistic potential – find where you audience and awesomeness intersect and try to find a way to hang out there.Here’s how:
6 Upgrade your Heroes First upgrade your heroes – history is scattered with underknown world-changers, and the present is too. Dig beyond pop culture, politicians and sports personalities to find remarkable predecessors to your work – for me, my heroes range from writer of “Confessions” and “The Social Contract”, Jean Jacques Rousseau, to current day punk rock photographer bev davies. Who are your historical dopplegangers?
7 Personal Archaeology Next, embark on personal archaeology – dig into your closet to find forgotten dreams from those black white photos you took in yellowstone to graduate thesis to 4th grade book reports to your journals from hitchhiking down the coast. Take the risk to share these artifacts with your small slice of the world and let them breathe life into your work.
8 Embrace TranslucencyTransparency isn’t interesting – instead share the parts of you which are compelling and you are capable of backing up – accept risks but protect the parts of you which are too delicate to expose. Create interest through scarcity and self-editing and be prepared to deal with any reaction which comes along.
9 Express with vigour You are an expert on something, don’t rely on others to create the historical record – everyone has access to remarkable publishing and promotion tools so step it up and dig deep to tell your unfiltered opinions and don’t let cynics bring you down – if you can’t surprise and impress yourself, no way you can evoke emotion from an audience.
10 HSTI think of “Express with Vigour” as the “Hunter S Thompson rule” – while his reputation has been somewhat maligned through hollywood movies, the fake Doctor was the finest social commentator since Samuel Clemens and offered significant discourse about Jimmy Carter, Hell Angels, 9/11 – and did it with a significant buzz – but always had a job because he expressed himself wisely and vigorously.
11 Cross TrainingNow sometimes the pressure to create awesomeness can be debilitating – staring at a white sheet of paper and all that – rather than stressing, experiment with other mediums and get interdisciplinary with cross training skillz and your stories will manifest through the other tools – i contend V. Van Gogh c/would’ve made it as a writer if the painting hadn’t worked out.
12 Don’t Get PreciousWith all this goodness you are creating, it’s easy to get protective of your thoughts and work. Rather than waiting for someone to make you an offer you can’t refuse, share your work openly and willingly – learn about creative commons, find collaborators, encourage remixing and your work will create a culture of its own. It’s not always fair but it is usually fun.
13 Ignore GatekeepersThe established business models for artists are relatively modern and designed to create value for the shareholders of corporations. The goal of landing a major label record deal or a big publishing advance are no longer needed or valued – be your own imprint, chart your own course, the gatekeepers may look intimidating but they are made of stone so walk on by.
14 Cross Pollinate When your work is released to the world to an audience – no matter the size – you’ll see a culture begin to grow around it – In the hills of Japan, I learned that once inoculated, Shiitake mushrooms propagate their culture from one log to the next – as the older logs rot away and stop producing, new logs down the line are fruiting fungus. Ditto with your audience.
15 Get more drummersOne dude drumming alone can make some noise but is not a party – recruit more drummers to amplify your story in their own way and spread your message across continents and oceans while building relationships and playing well with others. More fun, more effective plus you need others to have your back from time to time. Your momma told you are 1 in a million – that means there are at least 30 people just like you in Canada alone – go find em.
16 Formula for creativity The old Edison maxim suggest success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration – this isn’t my formula – my formula for creative expression is 80% meditation, 10% execution and 10% inebriation – what i mean by that is the real work comes in the white space of life where you contemplate your story – the inebriation part is about pushing yourself to where you get a little scared.
17 Collect notes along the wayTravelling light means not accumulating much – for me gathering ephemeral objects along the way can be a short cut to remembering where you were mentally, emotionally, artistically decades later – a train ticket or dried flower can leap you back to a place in time which can benchmark how much you’ve remained the same while constantly evolving and spark new creative pursuits.
18 make it for yourselfEveryone else is just eavesdropping – this ain’t your job – its for love not money so make it exactly how you want it. Push out the nagging naysayers in your noggin and create something with integrity and for the love of all things decent, don’t cheese out for the quick win. Be sell out proof and make things you’ll want to read when you are old and grey.
19 Reap RewardsMaking stories for the future isn’t a way to gain the material trapping of perceived success. You may never see your reward beyond the admiration of a small tribe of others – but that’s enough. Success will be a surprise you likely don’t expect. Don’t wait for your ship to come in, instead realize it might get lonely out waiting for your bus to roll in so get comfy and settle in.
20 Hang looseI’m dave, i’m all over the internet – i have a killer job so you can’t hire me but you can buy me a beer – thank you and hang loose vancouver
What follows is transcription of a talk called “Fck Stats, Make Art” at Northern Voice, 2008 in Vancouver, BC. Original audio (record by Jay Stewart who is identified as Speaker 1 below) exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.
Speaker 1:We’re at Northern Voice 2008 in Vancouver BC at the University of British Columbia Forestry Science Center and I’m about to record Dave O’s presentation. What is the name of the presentation?
Speaker 2:Fuck Stats Make Art.
Speaker 1:Fuck Stats Make Art. It’s going to be a little bit controversial because he’s going to give a call to up the ante on quality of stuff people are posting. He’s like, “It doesn’t matter if people are looking, it matters if it’s good content, that’s more important.”
Speaker 2:Certainly good content comes first and then you really [inaudible 00:01:06].
Speaker 1:I don’t need to know when people’s cats are going to the bathroom. I see a lot of that on Twitter and other sites and stuff, you know?
Announcer:So, it’s my pleasure to introduce one of my best friends here Dave Olson. He also works with me at Raincity Studios and I’m really excited that you guys get to hear him talk today. I think this talk would be quite a bit different from everything else that you hear at Northern Voice.
I dragged, Dave, kicking and screaming in the world of Google Analytics and I just didn’t get it, just like every moment I spent either looking at my viewers or attracting new ones is one less moment I’m writing or doing something else that I love. So, I always respected that about him.
He’s a poet, a filmmaker, an author, photographer and many other awesome things. Anyway, I’ll leave it up to him to go with the rest. So, welcome to Fuck Stats Make Art.