Strummerville, A Charity in Honour of Joe Strummer of The Clash, What’s Mellor All About?
Let me introduce you to the charity Strummerville! Set up in honour of the late Joe Strummer of The Clash, the trustee’s consist of family and friends who create opportunities for musicians who lack the necessary funds to do so.
They also support projects and organisations based around Joe Strummer’s ethics and beliefs. This ranges from providing instruments to prisoners, to help with rehabilitation (Jail Guitar Doors), to supporting people after murder and manslaughter (SAMM).
As you can see they are not biased in where they direct their help. The key is intervention humanitarian…the common good. Strummer strived for an unbiased world – a world where racism and racial discrimination, whether against whites, blacks and whoever, ceases to exist. He strived for a world against racism by advocating freedom and fairness.
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The Strummerville Charity was inspired by Joe – he helped make a difference in the world. From environmental to humanitarian and social issues, through his music he inspired change.
Strummer was an inspiration... The Future Is Unwritten!!
The formation of Future Trees (now The Carbon Neutral Company) was his brainchild by instigating the planting of acres of trees and Johnny Appleseed by Strummer was released to advertise this passionate environmental message.
His legacy continues to help the lives of others. From the days he spent around the Strummer Camp fire at Somerset’s Glastonbury Festival, to the united collaboration of musician’s in aid of fundraising for Strummerville (cover of Janey Jones with Babyshambles and friends) – John Mellor continues to leave his mark.
The Clash Calling
Ever heard of The Clash? This was a band that inspired a generation. They took music further into a dimension that had never seen the likes before and, arguably, since. The Clash’s music was the voice of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Their political stance advocated change and anti-racist views. ‘White Man in Hammersmith Palais’, ‘White Riot’ and ‘I Fought the Law and the Law Won’ were songs that helped spread political awareness to the working class youth of the day. The anti-racist messages were performed in bite-sized musical rants. This helped those who had no interest in the Politics of the day to wake up become proactive.
The Clash Calling Anti-establismentarianism!
Britain in the late 70’s was going through great change and The Clash were hard enough to challenge the establishment. The young people were no longer going to just accept the status quo. The rebellion had started through aggressive punk beats, ‘no nonsense, challenge me if you dare’ fashion and anti-establishmentarianist views. You can read how changes occurred during this time by clicking here. This is a hub on how the generation born in the 60’s were encouraged to be selfish due to social and political changes during the 70’s and 80’s. The Clash's relevance help to add to this backlash.
If The Clash inspired a generation, Joe Strummer was the voice!
If The Clash were the band that inspired a generation, it’s lead singer was the voice. Joe Strummer, born John Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, cared passionately for people. Although the son of a British Foreign Service diplomat and privately educated in Surrey, he became estranged from his family and ended up squatting London. He squatted with other homeless people and experienced working classes struggles. I think this made him angry and with this anger, directed his voice toward the common good of the working classes.
"Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn't have any inherent wisdom. I quickly realised that you either became a power or you were crushed" Joe Strummer Quote.
The Man Himself... Joe Strummer!
Joe Strummer - The Working Class Hero!
Joe Strummer became a working class hero. Not only that, but the loss of his brother to suicide after he had joined the National Front, must have had a huge impact on him. It might be for this reason that his disgust on racism may have stemmed from. Not just for the loss of his brother but for the opinions that he had adopted. You can click here for more on Joe Strummer. Joe was a humanitarian.
‘I'd like to say people can change anything they want to; and that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks. I am one of them. But we've all gotta stop... just stop following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything; this is something that I'm beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other; it's because they've been dehumanized. It's time to take that humanity back into the centre of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed... it ain't going anywhere! They should have that on a big billboard across Times Square. Think on that. Without people you're nothing.’ Joe Strummer quote.
Strummerville - The Legacy of Joe Strummer!
If you understand the man you will understand ‘Strummerville’ the cause, created in his honour after his death in 2002.
Strummerville is not a hugely known charity and neither does it direct it’s energy to world causes like Oxfam or the Red Cross, however, it does offer opportunities to talented and struggling musicians. The arts are not very well funded but music in our lives is necessary. Through music, messages are made and spread. This can impact on us all, just like it did for the punks in the late 70’s.
Strummerville’s mission states the following:
‘Strummerville is a registered charity that aims to create new opportunities for aspiring musicians…to provide rehearsal space and studio time to individuals, groups and organisations to enable the production of music by creative young people who would otherwise be preventing from doing so simply because they lack the necessary funds…’
As you can see, the charity is about offering support, resources and performance opportunities to artists. If you are aware of the saying ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’, you will see that through Strummerville, artists may actually have a chance of creating music and potentially breaking through because of their talent - not because they happen to have a family member in the industry. Again, Joe’s legacy continues to advocate for the poorest, but most talented members of our society - our working class hero still impact on the lives of others even after his death!
Joe Strummer and Future Forests
Strummer was always active at the Glastonbury Festival. He would be the wise man at the fire sharing his opinions and understanding that of others. During the punk revolution he believed in anarchy, but as he grew older and reflected, he advocated the hippy movement’s principals of love, peace and harmony. He had always been a humanitarian, but also cared passionately for the environment. Joe was one of the first to set up and promote the ideas of carbon offsetting by planting trees – Future Forests (now the Carbon Neutral Company) - which rock legends like U2 and Thom Yorke of Radiohead still advocate today. As you can see from the following video, Joe carried on spreading the environmental message long after the Clash…
Joe Strummer's Johnny Appleseed… ‘If you want the honey, then don’t go killing all the bees’
Glastonbury Festival and the Strummerville Foundation.
Even now at the Glastonbury Festival, by the memorial stone, Joe’s presence can still be felt. There you will find a blazing fire encompassed with couches. People arrive here - they stop, they sit, they sing, they talk, they laugh, they cry, but most importantly they share something of Joe and then… they go. It is the Strummerville Foundation that keeps his principals alive and runs ‘The Strummerville Bandstand’ which features an open mic. Many bands drop by and give impromptu performances by the fireside.
The Charity raises funds by donations and organising events, which include many of the acts they wish to promote. In 2006 Babyshambles and friends covered The Clash’s ‘Janie Jones’ – considered by Martin Scorsese* as the greatest British rock and roll song - in order to raise funds for Strummerville, reaching number 17 in the UK charts. The video featured:
- The Paddingtons
- Anthony Rossomando
- Gary Powell
- Jack Penate
- Lisa Moorish
- The Mystery Jets
- The Holloways
- The Maccabees – See My Hub!
- Light Speed Champion
- Jamie T
- Dirty Pretty Things (Carl Barat)
- Larrikin Love,
- We Are Scientists
- The Kooks
- Pete Doherty
- Mick Jones
- Alan Donohoe
- The Rakes
- Phil Bush
- Josh Hubbard
Glastonbury Strummerville Band Stage
So, Are You An Artist Who Needs Help? What Can Strummerville Do For You?
Why not borrow the Strummerville bus? You could use this for gigs or tours!
This is a very practical solution to a huge problem… transport and accommodation! There has been many a time where bands have to ‘rough it’ but it is no good if you haven’t got anything to rough it in, now is it?! Strummerville can come to your assistance!
Why not perform at one of their festival campfire
sessions? Strummerville are not only an
established presence at the Glastonbury Festival – one of the most notorious
and famous festivals in the world – but at Endorse It in Dorset, Secret Garden
Party and Frankstock. You can get your
practice in and put yourself ‘out there’ in the music scene. It is no good being the greatest talent in
the world if you aren’t shown now, is it?! Click here for all things Somerset Glastonbury!
What about getting some sound advice from Strummerville’s Mentor Bank? Here you will find experience, expertise and connections. Everyone needs a Mentor who can be there for you and give you practical advice. These mentors have ‘seen it, been there and worn the t-shirt’, so why not pick their brains?!
Anywhere near Belfast? Well at ‘Oh Yeah’ Strummerville have two rooms – rehearsal and song writing – that are open for Artists and Bands in the heart of Belfast. Get some more practice here! If this is too far away, then what about ‘The Roundhouse’ in London? This has state of the art facilities for 13 – 25 year olds. There are mixers, instruments and space to be creative.
Does Strummerville Support Other Causes?
Strummerville also supports many projects by sponsorships, including the Rookie-a-go-go unsigned stage at the Fuji Rock Festival and are also keen to show their support for the following organisations:
- SAMM - for issues surrounding the victims and families of loved ones who have been Murdered and Manslaughtered. They offer support from trained volunteers after murder and manslaughter and help people through, sometimes, an unfair criminal system – samm-merseyside.org.uk
Fairtunes And Strummerville
- Fairtunes – Strummerville is helping this cause to build, within the impoverished community of Bogata, a studio – fairtunes.com
Sophie Lancaster Foundation Logo
Sophie Lancaster Foundation And Strummerville
- Sophie Lancaster Foundation – This is an organisation that wish to raise awareness of prejudice in minority groups so as people are free to express their individuality. This is about respect and understanding whatever race or creed someone is. As you can see Strummer’s legacy continues. His humanitarian views on issues relating to rasicm has been a major influence here – sophielancasterfoundation.com
Jail Guitar Doors
Jail Guitar Doors, Strummeville And Billy Bragg
- Jail Guitar Doors was founded by Billy Bragg. They offer musical instruments to prison inmates to help with their rehabiliation. This is a very niche and controversial independent initiative but it is hoped to draw criminals away from crime by using music as a diversion – jailguitardoors.org.uk .
The Amber Trust Logo
- The Amber Trust – This aims to use music therapy for children who are blind or partially sighted with and without additional disabilities. Children can engage with sounds for pleasure and creativity. The work done by The Amber Trust can help build confidence and increase the quality of life through various musical tools – ambertrust.org .
- L.A. Music Club in Dover – Former Clash drummer, Topper Heddon, is President of this, even though it has been operating for over 40 years. The club organises and promotes local bands. The objective is to teach, help form bands, record them and help them with business management - thelamusicclub.com
Other projects Strummerville has been involved with recently are:
- Camden Calling
- The River Rat Pack
- Abatonga Vibes band.
- For more information on Strummerville and to make a donation please go to http://www.strummerville.com/
Strummerville Essential Organisational Information
Charity Trustees - Lucinda Mellor, Jazz
Mellor, Lola Mellor, Simon Moran, Damien Hirst, David Girvan, Gerry Harrington.
Charity Director - Trish Whelan
Address - 22a Stable Way, London, W10 6QX
Registered Charity Number - 1104165
*cited ‘Scorsese on Scorsese’ (4th edition ed.). Ian Christie, David Thompson (1996) .
© This work is covered under Creative Commons License
If you would like further information or wish to purchase The Future is Unwritten, Please click on the small icons
The Future is Unwritten by Julien Temple
I met Julien Temple at Strummerville's camp fire at Glastonbury one year and ended up going to the premiere of The Future is Unwritten at Bridgwater near where Joe lived. It was a real eye-opener as to who turned up at this little theatre with make do chairs - the type you can fold away. There were no grand opening or red carpet - it was real. It was honest. It was sooooooooo Joe!
People from all walks of the industry arrived and thanked Lucinda, Joe's widow, and Julien for this quiet little preview. In walked the likes of The Leveller's lead singer, Mark Chadwick, amongst other well wishers from bands past and present, including some of the Blockheads.
Julien paid homage to Strummer in a short speech and introduced The Future is Unwritten. Strummer was such an inspiration, Temple felt impelled to create this documentary in a way to describe how much Joe meant to people. This is more than just a documentary, it is personal.
'The Future is Unwritten is a moving and personal portrait of a musician who helped shaped not just punk, but modern music as a whole'. Amazon
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