- guardian.co.uk, Thursday 19 March 2009 11.06 GMT
Mick Jones has turned from punk rock to museum curation, opening his collection of vintage music memorabilia to the public. Temporarily on display at London's Chelsea Space gallery, the former Clash guitarist said he hopes to find a permanent site for his archive.
"I started collecting things when I was very young and I did not really know why," Jones told Reuters. "Then at the millennium, the change of the century, it started to become clear. I realised I wanted to share it."
The co-founder of one of the UK's greatest bands has been collecting music magazines, books and posters since choosing punk rock over football. "If you are ... a young working-class boy in London, you have to make a choice between sport or music," he said. "I made the choice for music."
"I have kept everything, if it exists it's probably there somewhere."
The display includes hundreds of items, from Frank Sinatra albums to Big Audio Dynamite lyric sheets, including stage clothes, plane tickets, access badges and a hastily scribbled note from the Clash's late frontman, Joe Strummer. Early issues of magazines Creem and Rock Scene, sent to the young Jones by his mother, bring back particular memories. "I was really up on that stuff while not many people here were," he said. "[Lester] Bangs was one of [Creem's] main writers. So it was such a joy to get to know him when he came to write about [the Clash]." That article was published in 1977.
For the 53-year-old art-school graduate, the music collection is "one big living artwork" that is still growing. "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."
Rock and Roll Public Library runs at the Chelsea Space until 18 April.