" Redemption Song " : The Definitive Biography of Joe Strummer

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By Chris Salewicz

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My name’s Woody,’ he acknowledged to him. whilst Deborah begun chatting with him, he stated, ‘My name’s not likely Woody: I made it up – yet that identify Ollie sounded so silly. ’ ‘At Central,’ stated Deborah, ‘he was once relatively amazing. It used to be obtrusive from the 1st second I met him there: he used to be continually on the centre of items. ’ Johnny’s accomplished paintings college program shape. (Deborah van der Beek, née Kartun) On his first day on the paintings university, within the sizeable studio room the place the ‘fresher’ scholars amassed nervously to fulfill up, ‘Woody’ Mellor encountered one other new scholar, a woman known as Helen Cherry. ‘On the 1st day we made friends,’ she acknowledged. In what may turn into more and more general of him, Johnny was once attracted to her due to her eccentric, quirky character; even if her awesome prettiness used to be most likely additionally an charm: tall and lanky, Helen Cherry could swan via imperative in sweeping lengthy clothes. Later that first time period John Mellor and Helen Cherry labored jointly on a sketch that used to be released within the collage newspaper. contemplating what he had so lately continued with David, its subject used to be telling: ‘It used to be approximately this bloke,’ she stated, ‘who fell in love with an image of an air hostess on a poster at the tube. after which in a kingdom of melancholy he thinks he can locate her via leaping at the tube line – and dies. ’ but at no element in the course of Woody’s time at principal used to be there any point out of David Mellor, that different melancholy patient, and what had occurred to him. one other origin scholar, Celia Pyke, acknowledged Woody’s manner was once such that till I informed her approximately it she had had no wisdom in any respect of the tragedy: ‘My effect used to be that he wasn’t an individual who had whatever striking over him. He used to be so stunning, so humorous, so charismatic. a lady I’d met had instructed me to observe out for him while I bought to imperative. She acknowledged he used to be one among her top buddies – i feel she’d been in class with him – and that he was once not just a very nice individual yet that he used to be a person who might do anything particularly nice. ’ (Later at critical Celia may detect one element of Woody’s greatness – that he was once ‘a fairly nice snogger’. ) Helen Cherry were born simply days ahead of Woody Mellor, on 10 August. ‘When he first met me and located out that i used to be born in 1952 that looked to be a distinct virtue to being his good friend: “It’s a very specific yr! ” He had humorous little phobias approximately issues. occasionally in a gaggle of individuals he’d have to choose on a person: I felt that was once a downer aspect of his personality. yet he used to be a really full of life, hot individual, and very strong enjoyable, amusing a minute. We’d by no means stroll down the road: we’d need to run. He’d say, “We’ll be previous after we can’t run down streets. We needs to run down streets and bypass. It’ll be the top folks if we stroll. ” a truly bright character. ’ while Iain Gillies got here all the way down to London in March 1971 for an interview at artwork tuition, he instantly acquired a feeling of his cousin’s lifestyles within the corridor of place of abode. ‘He allow me – illegally – crash in his room at Ralph West. We collaborated on a few works of art in his room.

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