Last night, I went to see London's Rasta man from the Renaissance, Don Letts, at Sydney University's Manning Bar. He showed a doco on The Clash, a doco on Gil Scott-Heron, read from his 'Culture Clash' autobiography, helmed a raucous Q&A (where old skinheads, one whom spent fifteen minutes trying to convince me Bad Brains were the best band of all time; and wasted losers, vented rubbish) then did a blinding, uplifting 2 hour reggae/dub set accompanied by a plethora of visuals (featuring everything from dead Buddhist monks to men boxing with kangaroos and Matrix trilogy snippets).
I had the chance to speak with him a few times - he signed my copy of Screaming Target's 'Hometown Hi-Fi' (the only album from his posse of 1991), his book and a DVD of 'Westway to the World'. I was impressed with his alacrity and zest, honesty and grounded manner. Whilst his docos screened, he mingled with the crowd and often became embroiled in quasi-philosophical discussions on the legacy of punk rock and posed for photographs...
Since 1986, Don's original incarnation of Big Audio Dynamite have been THE band that moved me the most: they got me through high school, university, life in general really. If my home in Sydney was burnin' like London or Babylon, I'd evacuate my home angels, then reach for BAD's four seminal, hypnotic and polychromatic albums of the 80s. From the moment I heard 'E=MC2' in 1985 I was hooked by their bouncy-as-Hell soup of guitars, synths and beatboxes ... So, seeing Don was awesome last night. BAD never toured here in the 80s.
LJ, May 11 2008.