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
I was recently a guest on (my occasional co-conspirator) Bob Mackin’s excellent PC/Pacific Rim/Cascadia news podcast called “The Breaker” talking about the postponed/cancelled Tokyo 2020 Olympics as well as riffing about personal archiving project, life lessons at 50, and birth of Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson.
In this 6-ish min. trimmed excerpt, i offer a few audio annotations about what i learned about myself, life as we know it etc whilst curating #daveo50, i.e.: how we really are who we are at a young age (in my case anyway), the importance of being kind, fostering and nurturing long-term relationships, that hobbies are the real thing, and the Internet is for communication not just a business construct.
Another curious cameo, this time with Bob “the hammer“ Mackin, renegade reporter covering politics around Vancouver/BC, as well as international affairs in the Pacific rim and the Olympics (when they are happening).
In the dispatch, I give some riffs about life in Japan, a few nuggets of wisdom about daveo50 (including the importance of DIY skills and kindness), wish Bob Mackin a happy 50th of his own (August 8th) plus share the show with punk rock politician champion Joe Keithley (DOA) and Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley who share some rock against racism.
What a glorious combination! Fire it up and hang out with us for a bit.￼
Join theBreaker.news Podcast host Bob Mackin for a special birthdays edition.
He turned the big 5-0 on Aug. 8 and shares some socially distant and virtual birthday cheer with Vancouver Island political commentator Laila Yuile (who shares the same birthdate) and Dave Olson, the former Hootsuite vice-president now living in Japan (and celebrating his milestone on Aug. 16). Also, hear what was going on in B.C.’s capital 50 years ago this weekend.
Plus an interview with Burnaby Coun. Joe Keithley, who recorded a new version of one of his legendary DOA songs, “You Won’t Stand Alone,” with Mayor Mike Hurley. The anthem rocks against hate and racism.
Plus Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines and commentaries on British Columbia Day.
Around 2000 in Olympia Washington, my colleagues and I sold a renegade pioneering Internet service provider (OlyWa.net) to an (evidently) evil national corporation (ATG) who quickly imploded allowing me the sensation of losing *big paper money* before i hit 30 – ugh .Anyhow, I managed to put a down-payment on a house – which had a semi-finished basement (and was also stumbling distance to downtown bars) which is the reason for this riff.
The aforementioned basement was rapidly converted into “the Hockey Lounge” a speakeasy/smoke easy/crash space for touring rock ‘n’ roll bands as well as a resource library for Hemp Lobby activities.
As the name applied, this was about watching hockey games as, in Washington state at the time, the sport was not popular and bars were filled with cigarette smoke an early season baseball games instead of pungent herb and Stanley Cup playoffs. The Hockey Lounge rectified these conundrums.
So, with a couple of first generation time-shifting devices, two satellite dishes and a cable feed and other electronics cobble together by brother Dan – who also procured couch, bar, fridge etc. from various auctions – and extensive hockey and punk rock artifacts decorations, a conversion of the fridge into a 2 tap keg-e-rator, the eventual addition of a toilet, wiring the house with ethernet connected to redundant broadband connections (note this was early 2000s) this became the scene of much frivolity.
There were rules:
Wash your glass (everyone had their designated glass which was store in the freezer compartment)
Pay your tab (note beer was always top-end craft from a brewery in exchange for making a website, we were on the regular route for a beer delivery and well let’s just say people drink more than they paid for.
No cell phones, camera etc. / no talking about other shit besides hockey and music
and these rules were not followed very well unfortunately.
Occasionally we would host various contest/pools during the playoffs or Olympics in which everyone would enter with a high-quality six pack (they were sent away and shunned if the quality was not sufficient) and winner would take most, second place slightly more than they pitched in, and third place their ante back.
Several times noted touring rock bands crashed out but most memorable was my hometown heroes DOA, who i sang BTO’s “takin’ care of business” onstage (at 4th Ave Tav) while wearing a Canucks jersey. The band – including now-Burnaby city councillor Joey “Shithead” Keithley, now deceased hard drinking storyteller Randy Rampage and the road manager (who was so happy about the high-speed Internet) and roadie who, years later, i met his brother coincidentally in Granada, Spain – all watched Canucks playoffs time-shifted and told tales into the night, signed my Hardcore 81 album, tidied up after themselves.
Of course, many travelling friends crashed out and enjoyed the space including Maddog Mike of Pacifica who destroyed so much Grand Crü beer and was still up early for his business meeting in Portland, Dane came by too (who i think took these photos), we had a “hippie on the couch” from CT or CO for a long time, others who came by at all hours expecting the place to be open like it was there own clubhouse, some disrespect, some sloppiness, some heat started to outweigh the frivolity. A lot of dishes to wash, but also a lot of fun backyard bocce games.
Of course there was the infamous High Times photo shoot in which many regional growers and vendors came by with copious amounts of wares in hopes of being featured in the magazine. Many were, i was rewarded with a massive mess to clean up and a photo/write up in the article which well… caused some community angst and notoriety (possibly covered elsewhere in this archive).
Epilogue: As it goes, economic situations changed with the *great collapse*, I couldn’t find work in any form, and then domestic situations changed with people moving in, people moving out, various tenants and domestic intrigue, then renters, a sewage flood and then a renovation and what not. [I had tried to finish some college, start a new business and relationship and hard to do all of that i suppose.]
In amongst much of this transition, aforementioned brother Dan became their “sole proprietor” of hockey lounge as it became his apartment. As things descended into malaise, various pieces and parts were sold off for cash to pay the mortgage, eventually the house sold, and I headed north and continued hockey culture with the Canucks Outsider podcast, then Dan later heading north as well to attend UBC engineering school. The Hockey Lounge still lives in the way/spirit at his current abode.
There is scant photographic evidence of this era though the legends live on throughout the streets of Olympia (or so I tell myself) plus at Olympic Plaza in SLC, and oh yeah if you’re reading this pay your fcking tab – this means you!
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!
Books are my pals, even since a kid – and sometimes books (by circumstance or convenience) are stashed at mysterious locales around the world.
Sometimes, i snap pics of the cache for future reference, sometimes they go to little /free libraries, sometimes into my “Liberated Literature” program.
Regardless, sometimes, the bookcases and/or contents are captured for memory of spending time with friends in a still-life of sorts. As such, this dossier of evidence.
Here are a few covers which happened to get snapped, as such, sharing for the amusement and edification of anyone who happens by and include: Soseki Natsume, Lafcadio Hearn, Tanazaki and a punk rock oral history.
Not comprehensive by any means but sometimes raise their hand and say “i wanna spread some fcking joy” as they arrived by post.
Note this Lafcadio Hearn book was before he came to Japan (and changed name to Koizumi Yakumo) and was working/writing/rambling around New Orleans and later Caribbean islands.
Here and there i see “sticker walls” in various bars, toilet rooms of bars, taverns, dives of all sorts, or sometimes coffee shops – maybe – but mostly bars and toiletrooms of bars. So i take photos sometimes, especially since a pal in Squamish mentioned his affinity towards same and another pal from Whalley sometimes shares photos of crappy bar toilets and ask “where’s the sh!tter?”
So anyhow, here are some photos with minor annotations if recalled – no accuracy intended or implied. There are others, we’ll start with these and call the assortment which appears, Vol. 1 of a possible series. Also, these make the best and worst computer screen “wallpapers” too. Tip: Give a try.
A few sundry/spontaneous remarks about London Calling, The Clash’s remarkable album, turning 40 as well as a few miscellaneous annotations about The Clash’s canon:
London Calling had the element of surprise as the world (or the record company) had no idea that this eclectic mix of americana, ska, rockabilly, mushy songs, political songs, fun songs, songs recorded in 1 take, a rock drummer playing like Ginger Baker without the prog and the almost alien guitar playing of Mick Jones. No one knew what to expect and it exploded as a secret, delivered mere hours before the EOY deadline.
The double LP was packed in one sleeve (to save label and fans money) and Train in Vain was Mick’s last minute addition (that’s why the mix sounds so different too) with Topper, no Joe or Paul on that track.
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.