Vision Of A Homeland

William Blake - visionary... just like Joe

Vision Of A Homeland – The History Of Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros

Anthony Davie (Effective)

Joe Strummer book Anthony Davie ran the official Mescaleros website www.strummersite.com - for almost 3 years. He considers himself a ‘fan at heart’ who lucked out big style the day he landed the webmaster’s job. “Vision Of A Homeland” is his definitive history of The Mescaleros.

To begin with – it’s a good-looking book. The jacket depicts a b&w photo of Joe – face contorted with angst (one hand holding the mic, the other held to his temple - as if fighting off the mother of all migraines) - pinned to the bark of a tree trunk (possibly a reference to the dedicated trees planted at Orbost, Isle Of Skye, in Joe’s memory). The contrast between the grainy image of our hero, the gritty reality of the bark - & the greenery of the foliage behind it could well hold a metaphor of sorts – or it may not – I’m too chicken to call it, either way.

“Vision Of A Homeland” is divided into roughly 5 sections: the first covers the day to day history of The Mescaleros, the second collates profiles of every musician involved with the group, the third, Over Land & Sea, was compiled from diary notes & a ‘bloody good memory’ – the fourth & fifth - Tour History & Discography, respectively – are self explanatory.

Running at 247 pages (inc 34 preciously unseen images) – “Vision Of A Homeland” is written from the heart - sometimes in blood pumped straight from the author’s own aorta. We get celebration, validation, explanation, justification - & ultimately veneration - of arguably the most effective cultural icon of our generation. As with all great stories – there are going to be tears before bedtime - & “Vision Of A Homeland” is no exception. It doesn’t matter that you know the story already – it’s the light & shade present here that will give you more insight into the true nature of Strummer (The Man) than a thousand ‘official’ Clash biographies.

With The Mescaleros, Joe came back for a second bite at the big apple - & “Vision Of A Homeland” is testament to that. He’d lived & learnt – forgiven & been forgiven - & become a bigger man in the process. It is highly unlikely that we will ever produce a successor to his throne – unfortunately, we just don’t seem to make ‘em like Joe any more.

Jean Encoule – tMx 20 – 07/05
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