Rock n’ Roll Public Library Opens in London July 27, 2009 – Tags: , , , , ,

Mick Jones, lead guitarist for The Clash, the vanguard group of the punk rock movement, opened the Rock-n-Roll Public Library in London late last week.

As reported by the U.K. Guardian, the library is temporarily on display at London’s Chelsea Space gallery near Portobello Road, west London, not far from where Jones formed The Clash with Joe Stummer in 1976. The “guerrilla library” will include 10,000 items from the guitarist’s private collection, including Beatles memorabilia, Clash artwork and items the band members wore on stage. The full collection has never been seen before by the public.

Jones, 54, told The Guardian the five week exhibition was a challenge to the “blandness” of other music museums.

“It’s a direct artistic challenge to the likes of the corporate British Music Experience,” he said.

“I started collecting things when I was very young and I did not really know why,” Jones told Reuters. “Then at the millennium, the change of the century, it started to become clear. I realised I wanted to share it.”

The co-founder of one of the greatest bands to come out of Great Britain has been collecting music magazines, books and posters since choosing punk rock over football. “If you are … a young working-class boy in London, you have to make a choice between sport or music,” he said. “I made the choice for music.”

“I have kept everything, if it exists it’s probably there somewhere.”

The library includes hundreds of items, from Frank Sinatra albums to Big Audio Dynamite lyric sheets, including stage clothes, plane tickets, access badges and a hastily scribbled note from the Clash’s late frontman, Joe Strummer. Early issues of magazines Creem and Rock Scene, sent to the young Jones by his mother, bring back particular memories. “I was really up on that stuff while not many people here were,” he said. “[Lester] Bangs was one of [Creem’s] main writers. So it was such a joy to get to know him when he came to write about [the Clash].”

The former Clash guitarist said he hopes to find a permanent site for his archive.

Entry to the library is free.

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