Strummerisms – quotes of Joe Strummer about life

Joe Strummer (1952-2002), best known as The Clash singer, wasn’t only an musician. He also tried to open our eyes. He’s a hero and a teacher for many. He fought his long depression. Years later died in peace. There are my favorite words of Joe about life.

“The toughest thing is facing yourself. Being honest with yourself, that’s much tougher than beating someone up. That’s what I call tough.”
“My motto is, ‘What’s the hurry?’ I’m trying to get it across to the modern world that we need to sit around and think a little bit more.”

Julien Civange and Joe Strummer (right), 1984Julien Civange and Joe Strummer (right), 1984
Author: Laura bland (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

“When you blame yourself, you learn from it. If you blame someone else, you don’t learn nothing, cause hey, it’s not your fault, it’s his fault, over there.”
“Everyone has got to realise you can’t hold onto the past if you want any future. Each second should lead to the next one.”
“I’d like to say that people people can change anything they want to; and that means everything in the world. Show me any country and there’ll be people in it. And it’s the people that make the country. People have got to stop pretending they’re not on the world. People are running about following their little tracks. I am one of them. But we’ve all gotta stop just stop following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything; this is something that I’m beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other; it’s because they’ve been dehumanized. It’s time to take that humanity back into the centre of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed… it ain’t going anywhere! They should have that on a big billboard across Times Square. Think on that. Without people you’re nothing.”
A part of quote on the beginning of clip recorder after Joe’s death:

“If you’re allowed to make your mistakes, I think you should. But people don’t really like hearing you admit them.”
“I hate it when I go out and I see parents going, ‘don’t do that’, or ‘stop doing that’ when some kid’s just hanging off a staircase or something. There’s too much of this, ‘don’t do that’. The whole thing baffles me.”
“I’d define it as self-awareness: an ability to trust your own judgment. An ability to see through veils of bullshit or spins on stories or propaganda. Maybe an ability to think for yourself.”
“Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn’t have any inherent wisdom. I quickly realised that you either became a power or you were crushed.”
“I`m kind of like one of those people that picks up small and interesting bits of wood and doesn`t want to let go of them. Or, you know, I`m fascinated with the wrapper on a sardine can. A little cuckoo.”
“There`s nothing but bad news in the newspapers to make us live in a constant state of paranoia.”
“We`re all going to have to learn to live together and develop a greater tolerance and get rid off whatever our fathers gave us in the way of hatred between nations.”

Joe Strummer with The Pogues in Japan, 1992Joe Strummer with The Pogues in Japan, 1992
Author: Masao Nakagami (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. There is nothing more common then unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world if full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are Omnipotent.”
“Having self confidence is good. There’s got to be a limit to it. You cannot float away patting yourself on the back.”
answer to the question “How do you manage to keep this sense of idealism or naivete?”
“You’ve gotta be slightly stupid.”
“I just knew if I could keep my mind more or less sane, not get bitter, that’s what I wanted to avoid. Getting like, “Oh, they did me over, sob, sob, sob” in the corner. There’s no way out of that. It’s like a vortex. I knew it would be living death to do that so I just tried to blame everything on myself, which is probably very appropriate.”
“So it occured to me that since my real vote is useless, null and void, therefore we ain’t gonna start runnin’ down the street burnin’ and a-lootin’ either ’cause our ass is gonna get canned. So that leaves the only vote anybody’s got, this dollar bill. All I’m trying to say is, when I wanna buy a record, I’m gonna take my dollar bill and go to some corner guy with his weird, kooky little shop. I’m not giving this to Virgin Megastore. The same when I’m going to buy some clothes- I ain’t gonna go to Gap no more. I wanna go to Ditsy Louie’s Junk Clothing Box. I’m using my vote here, this dollar bill is my vote. I’m not gonna go to a fast food joint. I’m going to go to a place where people own it, where the owner is standing behind the bar, picking his teeth. This is my new philosophy. Use your vote, your dollar bill is your vote.”

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