The following is an excerpt from Chapter Five of “The Jason Zodiac Files”, Jamie Carter’s biography of Jason Zodiac.
Email received May 14th.
SUBJECT: FAO Mr. Jamie Carter – Appeal for Information (Zodiac)
Dear Mr. Carter,
First, let me say what a great job you’re doing with the Jason Zodiac articles for Fugue. I have fond memories of both the Banana Sundial concerts and The T-Service TV series, and I show copies of your magazine to all my friends.
You gave out an email address in the magazine and appealed for information regarding Jason Zodiac and his whereabouts. Well, here I am, because I have a story of the day I met not only Jason but also Joe Strummer of The Clash, and I think you might be interested.
My name is Terence Morgan and I’m over fifty years old now. You wrote in your article on the Sex Pistols that you would never forget the day you heard God Save the Queen. Well, I can tell you there’s one day I will never forget– and that’s the day Joe Strummer died.
I was in Naples at the time, of all places. My wife Julie and I had gone to Italy for our Christmas holiday with the kids, and we’d driven over from the Amalfi coast. In fact, we’d just got into the room, put down our suitcases, and sat down on the bed. We flicked on the TV and the BBC worldwide news, and there it was. Joe Strummer passed away at age fifty after a heart attack. My wife and I jumped to our feet and screamed ‘What?’ – we couldn’t believe it. I still remember the shock of it all.
You see, I knew Joe Strummer. I met him on maybe four or five occasions, enough to be on first name terms – and he and Jason saved my life. Let me explain.
I’ve been a record collector all my life. The first seven-inch single I bought was David Bowie’s Space Oddity, and the first album I bought was T. Rex’s Electric Warrior. I started buying Punk singles in 1977; it took me a while to get into Punk, but when I did, I didn’t mess about. The Clash, The Jam, The Stranglers, The Damned, The Buzzcocks, Rock Against Racism gigs; I saw them all at least three times each. I got to know Julie, my wife, through the records and the gigs. Our first date was a Clash gig at the ICA. Afterwards we went back to my student flat, I put Working for the Clampdown on the turntable and she started singing along and imitating the way Mick Jones swung his guitar about on stage.
That’s when I fell in love with her.
I studied economics at University College, London, and lived in a run-down student house in Hammersmith. In the summer of 1979 I had a part-time job in a corner shop in Pimlico. It was run by Mr. Gill, a huge Sikh with thick NHS glasses and mustache, turban, the full monty. He looked a bit scary and he was dead serious about money but as a boss, I’ve met people far worse.
Anyway, it turned out The Clash were working just down the road, in Wessex Studios. They were recording the London Calling album. They used to play football in a little park across the square and call in the shop afterwards for beer and crisps and ham rolls. Brilliant, eh? My claim to fame. I’ve got all their autographs on shop receipts and flyers – Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon. And Joe. Poor, wonderful Joe.
Let me get to the point. On the last day of August that year I started work at five, as usual, looking forward to knocking off at ten, getting over to the Black Horse for a couple of pints and back to Colin’s flat for a weekend spliff. About seven o’clock – Mr. Gill was in the back room stocktaking, and the radio was playing I Don’t Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats – Joe Strummer walked in. This time he wasn’t with the band – he was with Jason Zodiac. I was gobsmacked. I knew from reading the NME that they were mates, but even so, I never expected …