Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Culture Clash

I've just started reading 'Culture Clash: Dread Meets Punk Rockers', an autobiography of Don Letts.

I've been fortunate enough to meet Don Letts twice over the last couple years - once at a screening of 'Westway to the World' at the BFI and the other time was at Jarvis Cocker's Meltdown Festival. Both times he was charasmatic, eloquent and as loud as hell!

I'm only a few chapters in but the book is a tremendous read. It's very interesting to read about the emigration of Lett's family by boat from Kingston, Jamaica and in particular, the experiences he and his family had when trying to settle into West London culture.

Recently, a few interviewers have asked us about our ethnic origin. To be honest, each time we're asked this question I am slightly thrown. The main reason being, I consider myself British and am only aware that I have a different heritage to local British people when people ask me where I'm originally from. It is at that precise moment when I am reminded that I look different. It upsets me greatly. Not because I am ashamed of who I am and what I look like, not at all. But I get upset as appearances still count for a lot of assumptions these days. I just don't understand why.

As with Letts, whose family were immersed in music and he took the passion he had for reggae equally towards punk, I feel that the musical education my parents gave me helped make me very open-minded towards music as a whole.

There was always music blasting when I was growing up. It ranged from classical Indian music, Surf music, 70s and 80s Pop music to Classic Bollywood songs. That's what my parents love.

The classic Bollywood songs up until the 1980s were actually very tender and beautiful. The classic formula of poor boy falls in love with the rich girl is played around with quite creatively. I love old films - they have a certain innocence that is rarely captured these days.

My dad was also a huge fan of The Carpenters. Karen Carpenter had an absolutely amazing voice and was an extremely talented drummer. She tragically died in her early 30s due to complications from anorexia.

It was these beginnings that sparked my musical curiosities however it wasn't until I discovered Nirvana that I felt I had truly found my own, real band.



Boris said...

Oh excellent, I'll have to read that. I've been interested in Don since seeing some of his Punk documentaries.


An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump said...

Yes Carl, do be sure to check it out! It's a terrific read! Let me know what you think of it, D-Bird