COMBAT ROCK

(Released 14th May, 1982)

 

 

List of songs :

 1 Know Your Rights

 2 Car Jamming

 3 Should I Stay Or

   Should I Go ?

 4 Rock The Casbah

 5 Red Angel Dragnet

 6 Straight to Hell

 7 Overpowered By Funk

 8 Atom Tan

 9 Sean Flynn

10 Ghetto Defendant

11 Inoculated City

12 Death Is A Star

                                              Mick and the River Kwai -1982

videos

The Clash - Combat Rock (1982)

“It was CBS Head of A&R Muff Winwood’s idea for me to do this. Was Mick Jones miffed that the album largely got recorded without his involvement? That’s a bit of an understatement. He was extremely annoyed. I was asked to mix the album - I didn’t produce it - they turned it in as a double album and CBS were not very happy. They called me in, asked whether I’d be interested in mixing it, and I met with their manager and Joe Strummer and agreed to do it. I mixed it at my studio. We started at 10am and Joe was there at 9.45am and we worked all day. Mick didn’t turn up till 7pm and I’d already mixed four or five tracks. He came in and I said, ‘I’ll play you what we’ve been up to today.’ I played them all back and he sat there with a pencil and pad and was making notes and he went, ‘Okay, these are the changes I want you to make.’ I said, I’m not making any changes, I’ve done it. So he got a bit miffed. I said, if you’d have been here at 10am I’d have been very interested to hear what observations you had while I was doing it. If you think I’m going to do them all again for you because you can’t be bothered to turn up till 7 in the evening, you’re wrong, mate."

The following day I rang CBS and told them Mick Jones didn’t want me to mix the album but they’d spoken to him and he’d apparently agreed to let me and Joe get on with it. I think Mick liked the album in the end.

With the  working title of  'Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg'  The Clash embarked on their ground breaking tour of Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia on 24th January 1982.

 

In March 1982, Pennie Smith shot the cover photo for Combat Rock on a deserted railway line outside Bangkok in Thailand. The cover photograph continues the railway association theme begun by the cover of The Clash and later on by Sandinista ! 

 

Combat Rock took only a week to make number two in the UK album charts.

' Should I Stay or Should I Go ' was written in the Autumn of 1981 with the lyrics either referring to Mick Jones pre-empting his departure from the band or to his soon-to-implode relationship with Ellen Foley. The Ecuadorian Spanish backing vocals are by Joe Strummer and Joe Ely.

 

Topper recorded the piano, the drums and the bass for 'Rock the Casbah.' The piano riff for the song was one that he had been playing around with for years.

Mick added the guitar and Joe the lyrics he had written to suit, inspired by the floggings meted out to anyone owning a disco album in Iran.

Red Angel Dragnet was written in the Iroquois Hotel, near Times Square, New York by Joe Strummer. It was based on the Guardian Angel, Frank Melvin who was shot dead by a policeman in New Jersey on New Years Day, 1982.

(The Clash played Sacramento Memorial Auditorium 22nd October 1982)

 'Straight To Hell' began as a Mick Jones guitar doodle that would not work with a rock'n'roll beat; so Topper grafted on a bossa nova drum pattern, itself drawn from a Brazilian hybrid of samba, baiao and jazz.

The lyrics for the song were written at The Iroquois Hotel on New Year's Eve 1981.

"Eddie King's best-known work for The Clash is the cover of the Know Your Rights single and the Straight To Hell  12-inch, featuring a skull wearing a war helmet next to four aces." (pp.30-31 The Rise and Fall of THE CLASH by Danny Garcia (2012).

 

http://electricladystudios.com/funny-or-die-presents-the-clash-the-last-gang-in-town-with-rare-footage/

                                                                           
Mixing Know Your Rights PART 1 -    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aNp7jdF3dDk
 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=aNp7jdF3dDk&fbclid=IwAR2uFm16XWTBucBiNHYcJfGo5gvZvhSs7X35EAszPH13_ZHWq9UMye8kOIo
 

Mixing Know Your Rights PART 2  - https://youtu.be/uNLK2BC9V-U
 

                  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uGIyt8_xbcU
 

 

Ghetto Defendent features the poet, Allen Ginsberg "the voice of God" whose lyrics concerned New York's spiralling drug crisis.

 

PHOTOGRAPHER: Kosmo Vinyl

 

10 BRAMLEY ROAD ?

 

1 = Bramley Arms Pub, 1 Bramley Road, W10

and

2 = People's Hall

3 = Apocalypse Hotel location: 10 Bramley Road?

 

 

The ENTERPRISE, an off-license rather than a pub

was on the corner of Mortimer Square...

 

Bramley Arms (1) on the LEFT and 3,5,7,9 Bramley Road shops on the RIGHT...

 

View from TREADGOLD Street...

 

1950

 

SOURCE:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/rbkclocalstudies.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/frestonia-the-past-is-another-country/amp/

 

GENE PEARL Ltd. (Buttons)

12, Bramley Road

12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 Bramley Road

with

The Bramley Arms Pub on the LEFT...

 

 

10, Bramley Road...

 

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2017/oct/30/welcome-frestonia-west-london-tony-sleep-in-pictures

 

APOCALYPSE HOTEL IS IN

BRAMLEY ROAD...

 

8, BRAMLEY ROAD

1980

 

BRAMLEY ARMS, 1 Bramley Road, W10 - in July 2011

 

The Clash may have gone in the Bramley Arms Pub but it does appear in The Blue Lamp, Lavender Hill Mob, Quadrophenia, Sid and Nancy, Sweeney, Minder…

1988

 

1989

 

NOTE: No buildings on the other side of the road...

 

"Kosmo, Is this where the hotel was located opposite the pub?
Did The Clash drink in there?
Hope all is well,
Don"

 
"I'm sorry I can't be so exact, I do remember The Apocalypse Hotel was on the other side of the road from the Bramley and down/up a bit.
The Clash did not drink in The Bramley, which is not to say they never went in.
There was another little "modern" pub nearer the rehearsal space and I'm thinking not that near but on the same side as The Hotel, I can remember us all being in.
But there was no regular pub for us round there.
Out the door, so if this raises any more questions, I'll be back later today.
Happy 22
KV"

 

“Yes, the Apocalypse Hotel was on the stretch of Bramley Road that went up to the Trafalgar pub junction with Latimer-Freston Road - but that side was Frestonia. I'm not sure what the number of the hotel was.” (Tom Vague)

 

 

 

 

THE TRAFALGAR PUB...

 

 


 

SOURCE:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/northkensingtonhistories.wordpress.com/2020/08/02/the-fourteen-pubs-of-latimer-road-and-norland-road/amp/

 

12, Bramley Road

View in 1977 from above Freston Road, where squatters and activists founded housing coop and community FRESTONIA...

 

 

SOURCE:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/frestonia-squatters-london-declare-independence-uk-1970s-free-independent-a8514576.html%3famp

https://www.google.com/amp/s/rbkclocalstudies.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/frestonia-the-past-is-another-country/amp/
 

 

 

 

 

TOM VAGUE

 

 

THE CLASH AT THE APOCALYPSE HOTEL IN THE REPUBLIC OF FRESTONIA

 

The Clash at the Apocalypse Hotel in the Republic of Frestonia 40 years ago - in September 1981 on the cover of the November Zigzag magazine photo by Kosmo Vinyl - Mick Jones already with a ghettoblaster. For the rest of the 80s Futura2000 graffiti marked the spot of the punky hip-hop party. Futura appeared on stage with the Clash doing hip-hop graffiti and rapped on ‘Overpowered by Funk’ on ‘Combat Rock’. In the wake of the Republic of Frestonia squatted street, the Clash and Motörhead rehearsed and recorded at Ear Studios in the London City Mission People’s Hall on the corner of Freston Road (formerly Latimer Road) and Olaf Street. Pat Gilbert describes the People’s Hall in ‘Passion is a Fashion’ as ‘off the beaten track, seedy, cheap, Victorian (just), located in a semi-industrial area. Inside were storage areas with half-broken jukeboxes, pinball machines and pool tables. There was also a patch of scrubby grass out the back - handy for a kick-around… Its extraordinary history sealed the deal.’

 

After Latimer Road was cut in half by the A40 (M) -M41 Westway flyover inter-change in the 60s, the remaining houses either side became derelict and were squatted. The southern end, by then renamed Freston Road, became a Bohemian interzone of Notting Dale. As the GLC planned a mass eviction before building an industrial estate on the site, in October 1977 the Freston Road squatters declared themselves independent of Britain and appealed to the United Nations for assistance. All the citizens of the republic of Frestonia double-barrelled their names with Bramley from the adjacent road; border controls and embassies were set up, Frestonia passports, stamps, and a newspaper were produced, and a national anthem that went ‘Long live Frestonia, land of the free - not the GLC.’ 

 

The Free and Independent Republic of Frestonia was part William Blake Albion Free State and part Marx brothers’ ‘Freedonia’, with some Chestertonesque whimsy and Orwellian nightmare thrown in. The republic’s founding fathers were Nick Albery from BIT and Heathcote Williams of the Ruff Tuff Cream Puff squatting estate agents. Geoffrey Howe (the future Conservative foreign secretary) wrote whilst in opposition, in support of the squatted republic and GK Chesterton’s ‘small is beautiful’ Tory anarchist principle: ‘As one who had childhood enthusiasm for ‘Napoleon of Notting Hill’, I can hardly fail to be moved.’ (Geoffrey Howe’s resignation from the cabinet in 1990 is said to have brought about the downfall of Margaret Thatcher.) The actor David Rappaport (who meets Napoleon as the ‘Time Bandits’ leader Randle) was the Frestonia minister for foreign affairs.

 

In the London City Mission People’s Hall on Olaf Street (now design studios), the National Film Theatre of Frestonia presented ‘Passport to Pimlico’(in which SW1 becomes part of Burgundy to avoid rationing restrictions), ‘The Immortalist’ by Heathcote Williams and film of the Sex Pistols by Julien Temple and John Tiberi. The Passions (of ‘I’m in Love with a German Film Star’ fame) played their first gig at the People’s Hall as the Youngsters - as they formed out of the Derelicts squat-rock group from Latimer Road, the other side of the Westway roundabout. Here & Now appeared at the Freston Road Ceres bakery by the Harrow Club, which became the Notting Dale technology centre. 

 

Steve Montgomery of Rough Trade, who managed the other half of the Derelicts, prag VEC, lived in the squatted Freston Road pub, the Flag or Trafalgar, along from the Apocalypse Hotel. His fellow squatters included the Scottish punk contingent: Tony D and Skid Kid of Ripped & Torn fanzine, Alex Ferguson of ATV and Sandy Robertson of Sounds. Jon Savage recalls going to the Apocalypse Hotel with the French Rough Trade group Metal Urbain. The Factory at 91-7 Freston Road was promoted in Ripped & Torn with a picture captioned: ‘Miss Nazi at home: She wants your haircutz, your clothes, your rock’n’roll, your pictures, your camera, your Polaroids, your fanzines, your press cuttings, your spraycans, your tape-recorders, your insanities, your bodies, your money, your theatre, your anarchy, your drugs. Make things at the Factory. Everything is permitted. Nothing is taken seriously.’ 

 

As the Republic of Frestonia became the Bramley housing co-op development in the 90s, the squatting pioneer Scottish Jack told Jim White of the Independent: “It was tough here. The locals didn’t like us, criminal families, they used to come round mob-handed with pick-axe handles for some fun after closing time. Irish tinkers would come to your door and tell you that they were taking over your house. The black kids would nick anything you had. You felt vulnerable. The police? Well, the drug squad used to use us for practice raids; 30 of them would turn up, plus vans and dogs, break down your door, and you’d be sitting there with one solitary spliff.” 

 

Jon Savage - who produced an issue of his ‘London’s Outrage’ fanzine consisting of a Frestonia photo montage cut up with the ‘Same thing day after day’ Westway graffiti - recalled the area as the punk wasteland: “A complete tip. It was basically a rubbish tip with a few squats. It was the worst of the worst, real marginalia, right on the outer limits at one point that place. It was like no-man’s-land.”  

 

A hundred years before another writer had travelled with trepidation ‘beyond the colony of the pigkeepers’ alongside Counter’s Creek. In a similar state of shock and awe, ‘the Old Inhabitant’ wrote: ‘But what a place it was when I first discovered it -comparatively out of the world - a rough road cut across the fields the only approach. Brickfields and pits on either side, making it dangerous to leave on dark nights. A safe place for many people who did not wish everybody to know what they were doing.’ 

 

THE LONDON CITY MISSION PEOPLE’S HALL

 

The People’s Hall on Olaf Street, Freston Road was originally the London City Mission People’s Hall on Latimer Road. In 1902 the London City Mission Magazine's Robert Lee reported rumours of anarchist activity in the area: ‘Some time ago there was a local body of Anarchists who met regularly in secret, but as far as I can find out, the meetings have been abandoned, and the members scattered. That there are odd ones holding socialistic and revolutionary doctrines I have not the least doubt, for I meet with them occasionally: but as to the majority of my people, I have been deeply touched, at times, to see how firmly-rooted the King and Queen are in the affections of even the most depraved and violent.’ 

 

The London City Mission Magazine ‘In the Potter’s Field’ picture from 1911 is captioned: ‘The Potteries district consists of 14 streets, which contain that number of public houses. Our picture shows a local pugilist, whose body is tattooed from head to waist, about to display his particular art.’ ‘The smile of sinners who glory in their shame’ picture caption is: ‘The man wearing a light cap in the centre, who is reputed to be the biggest boozer in the Dale, and has spent 20 years in prison, has recently signed the Pledge. Note the jug and bottle in the hands of the women at the extreme left and right of the picture.’

 

FRESTONIA TIMELINE NOTES

 

1977 The Free and Independent Republic of Frestonia After Latimer Road was cut in half by the Westway-West Cross Route A40(M)/M41 flyover inter-change roundabout in the 60s, the remaininghouses on the stretches either side were squatted. The southern end, renamed Freston Road, became a Bohemian interzone enclave of hippies and punk rockers in Notting Dale. As the GLC planned a mass eviction before building an industrial estate, in October 1977 the Freston squatters declared themselves independent of Britain and appealed to the UN for assistance:

 

‘We appeal to the UN in particular to other smallemerging and non-aligned nations to treat our application with the utmost seriousness and urgency. If delay in processing our application occurs, an invasion into Frestonia and eviction by the GLC and other organs of the British government may occur, in which case the necessity may arise for Frestonia to require the UN to send a token peace-keeping force. These are developments which we must at all costs avoid. If necessary, we would of course co-operate with a repeat referendum of Frestonian citizens, supervised by the UN, which would again reveal the desire of the overwhelming majority of inhabitants for self-determination and independence from Great Britain.’

 

Part William Blake Albion Free State, part Marx brothers’ ‘Freedonia’, with some Chestertonesque whimsy and Orwellian nightmare thrown in, Frestonia was organised by the hippy Napoleons of Notting Hill, Nick Albery from BIT and Heathcote Williams of the Ruff Tuff Cream Puff squatting estate agents. Nick Albery, the Frestonian minister of state for the environment, went on to write ‘The Time Out Book of Country Walks’ and ‘The New Natural Death Handbook’. Heathcote Williams the poet-playwright-painter-actor-etc is most renowned locally for spraying ‘No’ graffiti on the Talbot Road studio of the prog rock group Yes. 

 

As they set up border controls, embassies and a national newspaper, The Tribal Messenger, all the citizens double-barrelled their names with Bramley from the adjacent road. The actor David Rappaport-Bramley (who meets Napoleon as the ‘Time Bandits’leader ‘Randle’) was the Frestonian minister for foreign affairs. Geoffrey Howe (the future Tory foreign secretary, then in opposition) wrote in support of the squatted republic and GK Chesterton’s ‘small is beautiful’ local nationalism: ‘As one who had a childhood enthusiasm for The Napoleon of Notting Hill (Gate), I can hardly fail to be moved by your letter.’ 

 

The National Film Theatre of Frestonia in the People’s Hall The National Film Theatre of Frestonia in the old London City Mission People’s Hall off Freston Road on Olaf Street showed the republic’s inspiration Passport to Pimlico - In the 1949 Ealing comedy SW1 becomes part of Burgundy to avoid rationing restrictions. There were also screenings of Heathcote Williams’s ‘The Immortalist’ and film of the Sex Pistols by Julien Temple and John Tiberi. The People’s Hall subsequently became rehearsal studios used by the Clash and Motörhead and now design studios.

 

The Passions (of ‘I’m in Love with a German Film Star’ fame) played their first gig at the Frestonia People’s Hall as the Youngsters. The Passions formed out of the pre-punk Derelicts squatter group from Latimer Road, the other side of the Westway roundabout. The hippy-punk crossover group Here & Now later appeared at the Freston Road Ceres bakery (formerly the Britannia pub, now the Notting Dale technology centre).

 

The Apocalypse Hotel Steve Montgomery of Rough Trade, who managed the other half of the Derelicts, prag VEC, lived in the squatted Freston Road pub, the Flag/Trafalgar along from ‘the Apocalypse Hotel’, with the Scottish punk contingent featuring Tony D and Skid Kid of Ripped & Torn fanzine, Alex Ferguson of Alternative TV, and Sandy Robertson of White Stuff and Sounds. The punk writer Jon Savage recalls going to the squatted Apocalypse Hotel with the French Rough Trade group Metal Urbain, who did an impromptu gig on the premises. Ripped & Torn 8 promoted The Factory at 91-7 Freston Road, with: ‘Miss Nazi at home: She wants your haircutz, your clothes, your rock’n’roll, your pictures, your camera, your polaroids, your fanzines, your press cuttings, your spraycans, your tape-recorders, your insanities, your bodies, your money, your theatre, your anarchy, your drugs. Make things at the Factory. Everything is permitted. Nothing is taken seriously.’

 

In the early 90s, as Frestonia became the Bramley housing co-op community development, the squatting pioneer Scottish Jack told Jim White of the Independent: “It was tough here. The locals didn’t like us, criminal families, they used to come round mob-handed with pick-axe handles for some fun after closing time. Irish tinkers would come to your door and tell you that they were taking over your house. The black kids would nick anything you had. You felt vulnerable. The police? Well, the drug squad used to use us for practice raids; 30 of them would turn up, plus vans and dogs, break down your door, and you’d be sitting there with one solitary spliff.” 

 

Jon Savage, who produced an issue of his London’s Outrage fanzine consisting of a Frestonia photo montage with the ‘Same thing day after day’ Westway graffiti, recalls the area in the late 1970s as the punk rock wasteland: “A complete tip. It was basically a rubbish tip with a few squats. It was the worst of the worst, real marginalia, right on the outer limits at one point that place. It was like nomansland.” 

 

A hundred years before, another writer had travelled with trepidation ‘beyond the colony of the pigkeepers’ alongside Counter’s Creek, where Latimer Road was coming into existence as Latymer Road. In a state of shock and awe, ‘the Old Inhabitant’ wrote: ‘But what a place it was when I first discovered it -comparatively out of the world - a rough road cut across the fields the only approach. Brickfields and pits on either side, making it dangerous to leave on dark nights. A safe place for many people who did not wish everybody to know what they were doing.’ 

 

Squat Rock: The Derelicts, prag VEC, the Passions Before Frestonia the proto-punk Derelicts came out of the squatted stretch of Latimer Road to the north of the Westway roundabout. After trailblazing the Chippenham and Elgin pub rock circuit, the group, described as ‘Trotskyite r’n’b’, merged with Joe Strummer’s 101’ers and went on to be the Atoms with Keith Allen, prag VEC and the Passions. The guitarist/songwriter John Studholme told NME: “Our rehearsal space was a squat in North Kensington, but we’ve been evicted from there and rehoused in a flat 15 floors up, so we can play in the lift.” ‘prag VEC’s towerblock’, as it was dubbed in Search & Destroy fanzine, was Markland House by Latimer Road station, overlooking the Westway roundabout.

 

The drummer Nick Cash on prag VEC’s ‘Existential’ EP on their own Spec label: “Our bass player (David Boyd) was listening to Ornette Coleman and I was watching French detective movies, raincoats and beatniks.” According to the singer Sue Gogan, “the name’s derived from the local brew of North Kensington.” prag VEC also told the music press they were named after “an eastern European computer system”, “It’s Polish for toilet cleaner”, and “newspeak for foolishness.” Sue Gogan’s sister, and fellow ex-Derelict, Barbara was the singer of the Passions, who transcended the Latimer Road pubrock scene with their 1981 hit ‘I’m in Love with aGerman Film Star’. This was a homage to the legendary Clash and Sex Pistols roadie Roadent (real name: Steve Connolly), who appeared in a German film. 

 

The Clash at the Apocalypse Hotel and the People’s Hall In 1981 the Clash posed for the cover of Zigzag 119 in front of the squatted Apocalypse Hotel on Bramley Road, Mick Jones already with a ghettoblaster. For the rest of the 80s Futura2000 graffiti marked the spot of the punky hip-hop party. As well as being their on-stage graffiti artist, Futurawas the Clash rapper on ‘Overpowered by Funk’ on ‘Combat Rock’. In the wake of Frestonia, the Clash and Motörhead rehearsed in the Freston Road People’s Hall Ear Studios (now design studios). In ‘Passion is a Fashion’, Pat Gilbert describes the site as ‘off the beaten track, seedy, cheap, Victorian (just), located in a semi-industrial area. Inside were storage areas with half-broken jukeboxes, pinball machines and pool tables. There was also a patch of scrubby grass out the back - handy for a kick-around… Its extraordinary history sealed the deal.’

 

The Mutoid Waste Company: Steptoe and Son Go Mad Max In the short-life housing aftermath of the squatted republic, out of the Frestonian Car Breakers art gallery came the Mutoid Waste Company, Joe Rush’s ‘Steptoe and Son’ go ‘Mad Max’ show. As they progressed from Frestonia to acidhouse raves featuring a car-Stonehenge andhappenings around the world, Simon Reynolds posited that the Mutoids’ ‘skip culture is one of the few contemporary examples of the fun side of Situationism.’ The punk-hippy crossover performance art group was also influenced by Gustav Metzger’s auto-destructive art, JG Ballard,Survival Research Laboratories and Einsturzende Neubauten. The Mutoid mastermind Joe Rush’s grandmother wrote ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’.

 

In the late 80s the closely related crusty hippy Peace Convoy stopped off on Evesham Street, off Freston Road, maintaining Notting Dale’s historic gypsy-traveller tradition. Freston Road also hosted Blyth Power, the anarcho-folk-punk Sound of the Great Western Railway group at 126, and the Vague office at 124. Into the 90s the anarcho-rave Spiral Tribe and Transglobal Underground appeared at the squatted Bridgehouse by Latimer Road station. The last squatted rave venue was the old school off Olaf Street. Westway Studios along the Frestonia stretch was the venue of various TV shows including the late 80s/early 90s music show ‘The White Room’featuring Blur, Yazz, etc.

 

1860 Latymer Road: Beyond the Colony of the Pigkeepers ‘Beyond the colony of the pigkeepers at the end of Pottery Lane’, the anonymous vicar historian, the ‘Old Inhabitant’ wrote of an outpost alongside the Counter’s Creek boundary stream (by then the Common Sewer) and the West London Junction Railway line - where Latimer (formerly Boundary) Road was coming into existence as Latymer Road (named after the 17th century philanthropist Edward Latymer): ‘But what a place it was when I first discovered it - comparatively out of the world - a rough road cut across the fields the only approach. Brickfields and pits on either side, making it dangerous to leave on dark nights. A safe place for many people who did not wish everybody to know what they were doing.’ 

 

Latymer Road first made the news in 1860 with the‘Death in a London Bog’ of Frances Dowling, ‘a poor woman’ who suffered the most feared fate that could befall anyone in the area: ‘In returning to her home about 11 O’clock, she had missed the crossing place and stumbled into one of the miry pits.’ Her cries for help went unheeded as women screaming in drunken brawls was a common occurrence in the vicinity of the Latymer Arms inn. This horrific incident was used to launch an appeal that led to the establishment of the Latymer Road mission hall and ragged school. The building (now on Freston Road) duly appeared in the middle of a ‘primaeval swamp, blossoming in broken bottles, pots and pans.’ It was originally accessed by a narrow track lined with white posts and two pathways; one from the Lancaster Tavern at the junction of Lancaster and Walmer Roads, and the other seems to have become Blechynden Street.

 

The Harrow Club at 187 Freston (formerly Latimer) Road was founded in 1883 by an old boy of Harrow School, incorporating the Sir Christopher Wren pub on the corner of the old Wood Street between Latimer-Freston and Bard (formerly Wharfe) Road.On the 1871 Ordnance Survey map the south end of Wharfe Road is occupied by the West London Iron Works. By the time of the 1916 map the site had become the Devon dyeing and cleaning works; along the Freston (now St Katherine’s Walk) stretch of Latimer Road, Olaf Street hosted a coach factory. On the pre-Latimer Road station 1871 map the split in the railway lines at Latimer Road is Kensington Junction; by 1916 it had become Latimer Road Junction and was known locally as Piggery Junction after the Piggeries on the site of Threshers Place.

 

1958 The Latimer Road Mob Friday August 29: The incident usually cited as the one that started the Notting Hill race riots was an innocuous domestic dispute between a Jamaican man and his Swedish wife outside Latimer Road tube station on Bramley Road. Ray and Majbritt Morrison’s argument duly attracted an audience; some white men heckled Ray and Majbritt shouted back at them in defence of her husband, then a group of West Indian men appeared, there was a scuffle, and that was the end of the beginning. 

 

Before Latimer Road (to the west of the station) was split into Freston Road and the northern stretch by the Westway roundabout in the 60s, it was as important a thoroughfare as Ladbroke Grove. Having already appeared in ‘The Blue Lamp’ and ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ as a crash site, the street was immortalised in ‘Absolute Beginners’ as ‘the long lean road called Latimer.’ Colin MacInnes elaborated: ‘which I particularly want you to remember, because out of this road, like horrible tits dangling from a lean old sow, there hang a whole festoon of what I think must really be the sinisterest highways in our city, well, just listen to their names; Blechynden, Silchester, Walmer, Testerton and Bramley, can’t you just smell them as you hurry to get through the cats-cradle of these blocks?’ He missed out Barandon, Lockton, Grenfell, and the street called Fowell.

 

Saturday August 30: As recounted in ‘Jungle West 11’, Majbritt Morrison’s 1958 riot pulp fact book, the Latimer Road incident brought the simmering slum cauldron of racial resentment to the boil. The word went round the Dale that the time had come, and the following night the pubs along Bramley Road were full of locals singing ‘Old Man River’ and ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, punctuated by ‘vicious anti-negro slogans.’ After the pubs chucked out gangs of drunkmen milled about in the heat of the night looking for trouble. To begin with the riot largely consisted of the local mob milling about under the railway arches on Bramley Road. Meanwhile Majbritt Morrison was leaving a blues dance on Blechynden Street - just along the railway line from the site of the last big local story, Rillington Place. As she walked down Bramley Road towards her home on Bard Road, off Latimer (now Freston) Road, Majbritt found herself running the gauntlet of the hostile post-pub crowd. Outside the Bramley Arms, at the junction of Bramley and Latimer/Freston, she was recognised by her neighbours. A teenager said “There’s another one, another black man’s trollop”, and others shouted “Nigger lover”, “Get her”, “Kill her.” This occurred where the police radio-cars had crashed 7 years before in ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’.

 

Dodging milk bottles, Majbritt Morrison managed to get through the altogether less funny Latimer Road mob to Bard Road. There she was met by the sight of police and firemen outside her ground floor flat, from which smoke was pouring. True to historical mob form, the intended object of their wrath wasn’t the Morrisons but a West Indian pimp known as Sporty, who was reputedly living off two young white girls next door. Majbritt proceeded to confront the mob and was hit with an iron bar. After that she was arrested and held till dawn, for her own good. Then her story went from bad to worse; having started a riot and given birth, she was put on the game by her husband. Day 1 of the riots concluded with the local mob of around 300 moving on from Bard Road in W10, along Bramley Road into the W11 postcode, to close down the Blechynden Street blues club. 

 

Colin MacInnes’s verdict on the 1958 riot ground zero streets around Latimer Road station was ‘there’s only one thing to do with them, absolutely one, which is to pull them down till not a one’s left standing up.’ Blechynden Street originally meandered from the north end of Bard Road across Latimer Road round Latimer Road station to Lancaster Road. After MacInnes’s planning proposal went through with the site clearance for the Westway and the Lancaster West Estate, all that remains of Blechynden today is occupied by the ACAVA studios (which hosted the Portobello Film Festival office). 

 

1960 Steptoe and Son Arthur Arnold, who was known as ‘the original Steptoe’, was photographed by the scrapyard on Latimer (now Freston) Road in 1960 with his son in ‘Steptoe and Son’ mode. Arthur, the son of Juble Arnold, was a lifelong totter who lived at 35 Crescent Street in Notting Dale. ‘Albert Steptoe’ was actually modelled on him and the Arnolds’ horse appeared in the ‘Steptoe and Son’series as ‘Hercules’. The Arnold family, who lived at Norland House on the site of Norland Square in the 17th century, were described as ‘the chief bourgeois of Old Kensington… they married the gentry and were presently recognised as gentlefolk themselves.’ But in the 19th century the Arnolds slipped down the social scale to pigkeepers, before finding pop culturefame in the 20th. ‘Steptoe and Son’ influenced the Sex Pistols and the Clash, as well as the Mutoid Waste Company. Another possible influence on the series was the 1950s antiques dealer George Steptoe at 85 Portobello Road.

 

1973 JG Ballard’s Westway Concrete IslandCrash ‘Soon after 3 O’clock on the afternoon of April 22 1973, a 35 year old architect named Robert Maitland was driving down the high-speed exit lane of the Westway interchange in central London. 600 yards from the junction with the newly built spur of the M4 motorway, when the Jaguar had already passed the 70mph speed limit, a blow-out collapsed the front nearside tyre… Out of control, the car burst through the palisade of pinewood trestles that formed a temporary barrier along the edge of the road. Leaving the hard shoulder, the car plunged down the grass slope of the embankment. 30 yards ahead, it came to a halt against the rusting chassis of an overturned taxi.’ JG Ballard ‘Concrete Island’1974

 

Latimer/Freston Road: Hollywood W10 Boulevard The Hollywood W10 boulevard Latimer/Freston Road appears in ‘The Blue Lamp’, ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’, ‘Leo the Last’, ‘The Satanic Rites of Dracula’, ‘The Squeeze’, ‘Breaking Glass’, ‘Quadrophenia’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘Absolute Beginners’(studio set), ‘Sid And Nancy’, ‘Withnail and I’,‘Sweeney’, ‘Minder’ and ‘The Bill’.

 

1949 Passport to Pimlico The Republic of Frestonia was inspired by the 1949 film ‘Passport to Pimlico’.

 

1949 The Blue Lamp In ‘The Blue Lamp’ Dirk Bogarde, as a west London rebel without a cause, murders Dixon of Dock Green on Harrow Road. In the climactic car chase he’s pursued through Notting Hill to Latimer Road, where he crashes before running across the railway tracks to White City stadium.

 

1951 The Lavender Hill Mob The other great post-war car chase in ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ concludes with all the police radio-cars converging in a pile up at the junction of Latimer (now Freston) and Bramley, outside the Bramley Arms.

 

 

1969 Leo the Last John Boorman’s ‘Leo the Last’, starring Marcel Mastroianni, features some surreal scenes inside the Bramley Arms.

 

1973 The Satanic Rites of Dracula ‘The Satanic Rites of Dracula’ (originally ‘Dracula is Dead and Well and Living in London’) features hell’s angel Satanic bikers kidnapping a girl on Bard Road off Freston Road for a property speculating vampire.

 

1977 The Squeeze At the time of Frestonia, in ‘The Squeeze’ (nothing to do with the Jools Holland group) Stacy Keech and Freddie Starr, as an alcoholic detective and his sidekick, search the area for another kidnapped girl. This inevitably turns into a pub crawl culminating in the finale shoot out with the kidnap gang led by David Hemmings outside the Bramley Arms on Bramley/Freston Road, on the site of ‘The Lavender Hill Mob[ crash, the ‘Jungle West 11’ 1958 riot incident and the 1960 shooting of Billy Smith.

 

1979 Breaking Glass In ‘Breaking Glass’, the Dodi Fayed produced film starring Hazel O’Connor as a troubled pop icon, Hazel as ‘Kate Crawley’ starts a ‘Rock Against 1984’ skinhead riot under the Westway roundabout; and the pub is the squatted Flag/Trafalgar on Freston Road.

 

1979 Quadrophenia Franc Roddam’s ‘Quadrophenia’ film adaptation of the Who album, made during the late 70s mod revival, also features Freston Road scenes. The mod is beaten up by rockers on the site of ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ crashagain between the Apocalypse Hotel and the Bramley Arms, as an obviously late 70s tube goes across the bridge. Another of the mods works in the Freston Road scrap yard. The ‘Quadrophenia’ film crew had to obtain Republic of Frestonia passports to shoot in the area. 

 

1981 Time Bandits Terry Gilliam’s ‘Time Bandits’stars David Rappaport, the former Frestonian minister of foreign affairs, as ‘Randle’, the time bandits’ leader.

 

1982 Betrayal In the film of Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’Jeremy Irons goes to the Bramley Arms to meet Patricia Hodge.

 

 

 

 

1986 Absolute Beginners Julien Temple’s ‘Absolute Beginners’ film features re-enactments of 1958 riot incidents on Latimer/Freston Road.

 

1986 Sid and Nancy In ‘Sid and Nancy’ Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious headbutts what became the Chrysalis Building Heart FM radio station studios. In the mid-80s film the Bramley Arms became ‘the Old Mahon’ punk pub, based on the Earl of Lonsdale/Henekey’s on Westbourne Grove, and the Malcolm McLaren office scenes were shot upstairs.

 

1987 Withnail and I Richard E Grant and Paul McGann as ‘Withnail and I# leave for the Lake District from Freston Road (meant to be Camden in 1969).

 

Sweeney, Minder, The Bill Freston Road and the scrapyard, known as Marco’s Yard by the Bramley Arms, appeared in various motoring and criminal activity scenes in the likes of the ‘Sweeney’, ‘Minder’and ‘The Bill’. Interior ‘Sweeney’ scenes featuring John Thaw and Dennis Waterman were also filmed in the Bramley Arms and/or the Trafalgar/Apocalypse Hotel. 

 

In 1988, as the Chrysalis brewery building was being renovated, I watched a scene being shot for an episode of ‘Minder’ from the roof of the Bramley Arms, in which George Cole as ‘Arthur Daley’ ran out of the scrapyard as a van was blown up. This was shortly after the pub had closed. Interior Minder scenes were filmed at Westway Studios along Freston Road.

 

 

Joe Blaney,  Fab 5 Freddy and friends at Electric Studios, NYC - November 1981 / 1982...

 

Tony Fletcher's " the Clash.....the Complete Guide to their Music (2005)  " features an album by album, track by track analysis & information on when and where the music was recorded.

 

 

 

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