It’s wet and cold and miserable in New York City, with spring still struggling to gain a foothold. Somehow, it will be summer soon, even if it doesn’t really feel like it yet. Summer in the city, the air is thick and hot, settling on the skin like a lysergide blanket, trapping every speck of dust and grime. Gnats fly in for a sniff and stick there as though caught in a spider’s web. Walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke, and it stays with you on every inch of skin it touches. Even without the scorching sunlight underground, it’s somehow worse on subway platforms, heavy and dark with the air standing still against the body, the only respite a blast of deceptively cool wind announcing a train about to hurtle past. It’s like standing inside someone’s mouth.
This is where I feel the Clash the most. In the rhythms of wheels on tracks, the pounding of one’s own heartbeat as it tries to sift through a million stimuli a second in the city streets. They’re in the storefronts with radios still unable to pick up much more than tinny broadcasts transmitted from Mars. They’re in the feet hitting the pavement, the sirens that jerk and spasm, and the bloodcurdling screams punctuated by more silence than one could ever believe possible. This is the Clash. At least to me, it is.