Posted by: cgratton | March 18, 2009

Clash Guitarist Debuts Rock Archive Library

London just got a little cooler again.

Yesterday, Punk godfather and Clash guitarist, Mick Jones, unveiled his extensive personal rock n’ roll memorabilia collection at London’s Chelsea Space gallery in an exhibit called the “Rock and Roll Public Library,” which runs until April 18.

To some this could be just a pile of junk, but not to Jones and many, many others

To some this could be just a pile of junk, but not to Jones and many, many others

The massive archive of books, albums, posters, clothes, artwork, stage props, song lyrics and much more chronicles the rock scene from Elvis Presley to the Beatles, through the punk rock invasion and beyond.  As reported on, the guitarist considers the collection to be “one big living artwork” that he is still working on, and hopes that it can one day be a permanent, free resource.

“Ultimately I’d like to have a permanent place to exhibit the whole collection like a museum, like a library where you can come and see the stuff and maybe get a copy or sit there and read it. I also would like to bring artists there because it’s history really,” he says.

And history it is—over $5.5 million of it.  The vast display of rare rock collectibles tells a rich story of pop culture’s evolution over the past 50 years, and allows visitors the freedom to browse it as they please, read their own narrative, hear their own story. I like this idea, as it seems to reflect the free spirited nature of rock music itself, challenging the way exhibits are presented, rebelling against the traditional display of information.  This exhibit sounds like a definite “to do” list item when in London this month.

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