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Setting the record straight about a certain camera

Posted at 6:19 PM on November 5, 2007 by Euan Kerr

One of the stories told over the years about British director Julien Temple is that he got his start making movies in the 70s by stealing a camera to film the Sex Pistols.

That early footage became part of "The Great Rock and Roll Swindle" and launched Temple on a career of music videos and films, including the unfairly maligned "Absolute Beginners" and the wonderfully silly "Earth Girls are Easy."

I talked to Temple then and the camera story came up, and frankly was not denied.

In recent years Temple has been back doing music, including the recent "Glastonbury" doc. And now he has "Joe Strummer:the Future is Unwritten" the astonishing documentary about the life and times of the iconoclastic leader of the Clash.

We talked today about the film, and I mentioned that camera again in passing, but he stopped me.

"I didn't pinch it. I put it back. I borrowed it - I have to point that out. As long as I had it back by breakfast and the room was locked up, it was fine," he laughed.

It was in those days that Temple first met Strummer. One of his early memories was seeing Strummer making off with a couple of pints of milk which had been delivered to a nearby house where a number of people were squatting. Temple said he was on his way to see if he could 'liberate' the milk himself for morning tea, so he left a little disappointed.

Later on they were to become good friends, and he says that the film is a way of dealing with the pain of the loss of Strummer to a congenital heart defect.

He says this is the first film he's made about someone he knew, and he thinks that Strummer would strangle him for making it.

"I wouldn't have made it if he was around," Temple says. "I like the idea he would return and he would weave a wand and the movie would not exist."

November 2007
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