Joe Strummer, who we take as our patron saint here at NTSIB, died 11 years ago today. The above song, “Mega Bottle Ride” by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, ends with the line “And it’s time to be doing something good”, and it seems to me that one of the best ways that anyone can pay tribute to Joe is by doing good in his name.
A lovely example of that ethos is the Tumblr blog “What Would Joe Strummer Do?” A recent post on the blog itself beautifully sums up what’s going on there.
letsagetabita-rockin asked: Hello, Joe. Do you like the idea that there’s someone who lets people ask them rather serious questions on the internet and answers them as if they were you?
This blog was started as a fun project, a bit of punk-rock silliness we could share with others. We didn’t expect serious questions, but we got them – and now, those questions are the reason we keep doing this. If people stop asking us questions, we’ll stop answering.
In the meantime, there are people out there who have real questions and life-changing problems and no one to talk to about them. If we can give those people a hand; if we can cheer them up a little when they’re miserable; if we can encourage them to give life another chance, then we are going to do it. People feel safe talking to Joe – and everyone deserves to feel safe talking to someone.
We are obviously not Joe Strummer, nor have we ever claimed to be him or to be affiliated with him in any way. Everyone who comes to this blog to ask us questions knows this, and it’s stated clearly here in our disclaimer. But if there are people asking us questions because they have no one else to ask – because they feel alone or lost or hopeless – and we can help by running this blog, then we are going to.
This isn’t about us. This is about what we can do to help other people.
WWJSD receives questions ranging from just asking Joe’s opinion of other musicians to relationship questions to pleas for advice from people who are at the end of their tethers in very serious ways. Each question is answered with compassion, love, and encouragement, and each answer is accompanied by a charming illustration featuring cartoon Joe by artist Giles, like the ones you see above and below.
And, of course, there’s always the wonderful Strummerville – The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music. Pay them a visit – it’s worth your time.
If you know about other ways people are doing good in Joe’s name, please share it in comments.