I watched Rude Boy for the first time in many years. It is, in case you don’t know, a film from 1980 about and featuring The Clash. It’s kind of a fictionalised documentary, in that the titular character, Ray Gange, is both someone who was a sometime roadie for/hanger-on of The Clash, and playing the part of “Ray Gange.”1

The worst part of it is, as I recalled, his “acting.” Well, that’s not quite true. Viewing it as a film, that’s the case. But viewing it as a document of the end of the seventies, the worst part of it is the casual racism. And indeed the organised racism of the National Front rally shown at the start.

Also bad are the violence from police and bouncers, and the general horribleness of Britain in the seventies. Nothing looks clean, everything looks run-down or broken. It looks, in fact, far worse than I remember it being.

Don’t worry, by the way, if you don’t remember what it was like, are too young to have experienced it, and/or don’t want to watch the film. It’ll be like that again in a couple of years if things go as we fear.

The best parts are, of course, the scenes of The Clash live and in the studio. And we won’t get them back after Brexit.

Also, in looking up the IMDB article, I discover that a) Ray Gange has actually been in a couple of other movies, and b) far more importantly, there is a 2016 movie called London Town, which is a drama about those times. With people acting as The Clash. Whaaaat? Why did no-one tell me about this?

  1. Or not quite. That’s how I remembered it, but Wikipedia suggests the story is slightly different.