I watched The Future is Unwritten again this weekend, the documentary about Joe Strummer by Julien Temple. The Clash were my absolute favourite band for a long time, and I’ve always thought highly of Strummer. The movie gives a pretty balanced view of his life, exploring his faults as well as his strengths. But the point that comes through strongly is how inspirational he was to a lot of people. His final quote in the movie captures some of that:
Throughout his career, Strummer was interested in connecting with people. He seemed a lot more at home giving out flyers on the boardwalk trying to get people to come see his last band, The Mescaleros, than he did being a rock star playing Shea Stadium. In his later years he started organising campfires – the idea being that there was something primal in the kind of connections people make when they share stories and songs around a bonfire.
In this last spiel, he talks about how important it is to connect with people – stop running down your own “little mouse trails…. without people, you’re nothing.”
I keep talking about how we need to ideas to ideas, and ideas to people – but ultimately, all of this is only worthwhile if we’re connecting people with people. Ideas and innovations are simply the vehicles that enable this.