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  • Writer's pictureJamie Varley

Death or Glory



The Album

London Calling

Just like any great album, London Calling is a reflection of the times that shaped it. In the late 70s, punk established itself as a worldwide genre, appealing to the growing youth class whose lives were wrought with boredom, unemployment, alienation and bitterness. And in 1979, a year marking the beginning of the Cold War, this resentment bubbled into molding one of the greatest and most defining albums in punk history: London Calling.

London Calling’s unafraid sensibility empowered generations to pave their own trails. In its heyday it was an essential statement in the punk rock scene, refreshing and new while building alluding to handfuls of different influences. It examined issues in a very familiar way, remarking on how life’s dramas impacted the daily life of a normal person. Nowhere on the album are recommendations on how to fix these problems, because this wasn’t an album recorded for policymakers. This is an album for real people with real problems, providing a sense of comfort knowing that everyone is experiencing them, and providing a sense of escape by releasing these emotions through their brash and iconoclastic records.

At the time, the interpolation of genres that punk often looked down upon led to division among punk purist fans, although hindsight shows us the genius of weaving together flavours leading to a united and new sound. The Clash pull inspiration from every corner of rock music and its inspirations, including dub, reggae, jazz, pop, and dozens of rock subgenres like surf and hard rock. Each remain familiar but leveraged masterfully and deliberately, pulling on a much more diverse arsenal than traditional punk rockers of the day.

Despite the weight of the topics covered, London Calling never feels burdensome to the listener. It is a relief to listen to, an album for people to yell off tune to, each with a different personal connection to at least a handful of the themes. Even 30 plus years later, the lyrics acknowledge those forgotten by society, giving them hope and a sense of belonging to hold on to.

 

The Food



Classic BLT

ICONIC. Bacon, lettuce, tomato. The greatest sandwich ever. Scratch that - the BLT is beyond sandwich lore. Potentially one of the greatest foods ever, as much nourishment as it is a cultural mainstay and embodiment of all that is perfect and comforting.

The crisp crunch of the lettuce, the explosive sweetness and freshness of the tomato, and the satiating salty and juicy savour of the bacon create the holy trifecta of sandwich ingredients. It is unrivalled in terms of the flavour of each bite and the journey your mouth has to embark on to taste it.

The perfect BLT pays respect to each of the three main ingredients, flushed out by the crunch of the bread and smoothness of the mayonnaise. Dipping the bread in the bacon grease and frying it unifies the flavour while creating a crunch shell that brings out the freshness of the contents between the slices.

Hot take: even better than eating a BLT is making it. The smell of bacon clings to your kitchen and your clothes for hours – it’s better than any diffuser or scented candle on the market. Instant mood enhancer.

Pick a beer that is smooth, crisp, and drinkable in large quantities – aim for something you’d order at a poolhall. Coors Banquet does the job for me.

The Experience


Do you have an article of clothing that you throw on to feel smoother, tougher, or more rebellious than usual? Something that protects you and lets you take on the world and all its bullshit with a little more gumption than usual?

London Calling and a BLT are the vintage, James Dean-style leather jackets of experiences. They are both hardcore and undeniably badass. Everyone needs a few moments of feeling badass. When things get boring or hard, break the shackles of monotony by treating yourself to something that has the power to turn your swagger up a few notches to face any challenge (or simply just flex).

Put on The Clash and grill up a BLT when you want to feel good and forget your problems. The album and meal both instantly enjoyable and prop you up and support you no matter what is going on. Neither judge you, nor can anyone judge you for indulging in them. They are both as purely classic as things come, both staples in any generation and never not relevant.

 
 

Recipe

BLT


A tried and true recipe.

Rip the leaves off a stock of iceberg lettuce and cut tomatoes into thick slices, cover each with salt and pep. You can either cook your bacon on a stove (medium and slow to avoid blackening), or my preference for a more even cook, baking in the stove for 10 minutes at 350.

Once the bacon is ready, pat it down with paper towel to remove the grease and let it sit. Pick a straight-forward bread – nothing fancy (plain white cooks the best). Dip one side of bread in the bacon grease and immediately place it on a grill pan set to medium-high heat. Let it sizzle until desired crispiness.

Now you have your ingredients, each tasty in their own right. But time for them to form like Voltron, and where the sum is more powerful than its parts.

Spread a glob of mayonnaise on the non-crispy side of bread. Think of the BLT as a mini sandwich inside, with the bacon held in the middle by its more natural counterparts. Stack ‘em up tall and proud, something along the lines of bread-mayo-tomato-bacon-lettuce-mayo-bread. Perfect symmetry. For more fun, play around with the levels – the higher the better.

Enjoy!

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