I am stood in a room full of stuff belonging to Mick Jones. 'My guitar hero' of The Clash fame, Mick Jones. Words fail me right now as to how awestruck I am.
Tucked beneath the Marylebone Flyover in Joe Strummer Subway, found just round the corner from Edgeware Road tube station in the nation's capital, I am standing gawping at a treasure trove of goodies collected by a punk legend.
A former key cutting shop in this underground passage has been commandeered and transformed into something much more exciting. The Subway Gallery, as it is now known, provides a quiet and wonderful escape from the chaos of the flyover and the chance to lose yourself for a while - it's another world hidden away from the bustle of they city's Saturday shoppers and fun seekers.
Subway Gallery hosts a different exhibition every month
The Rock 'n' Roll Public Library
Until 31st March, the Subway Gallery is showing an eclectic exhibition of items collected by Mick Jones during his youth and early punk days, meaning the chance to get close to this stuff is a must for any Clash fan. The collection includes a mass of comics, fanzines, toys, Clash-related coolness and just a heap of stuff I would love to fill my bag with right now, all belonging to the man himself. Books and paraphernalia that influenced the music and opinions of the band also line the shelves, along with many cans of London fog.
By far my favourite items were the surviving copies of Sniffin' Glue and Ripped & Torn all lining one wall (sadly, I wasn't allowed to paw them). These '70s fanzines come from a now unimaginable pre-internet age, when music fans spent hours locked away in their bedrooms lovingly handcrafting these cut 'n' paste beauties to share their love of punk with the world.
Avid Commando comic collector
Shirts from The Clash wardrobe
I wonder how many non-related books there are titled 'The Clash'?
Keeping my hands in my pockets to ensure the urge to steal this awesome stuff doesn't overwhelme me.
(The dude with the hair is my mate Steve)
As the preferred busking spot of the late Clash frontman, the subway under Marylebone Flyover was aptly christened Joe Strummer Subway on the anniversary of his death, 22nd December 2009.
The sign was designed by artist Robert Gordon McHarg III, also the man responsible for the Subway Gallery.
(postcode: W2 1DX)
Verdict: a very over-excited WIN!
A Rock 'n' Roll Library of My Own
On the journey home - completed by a soundtrack of The Clash debut, naturally - I got to thinking about what I'd put in my own Rock 'n' Roll Library were I to create one.
As previously mentioned, I am the proud owner of a pretty awesome ticket stub collection, which would have to be included, along with a mountain of band t-shirts, a million and one itens relating to the Manic Street Preachers, my battered Doc Martens (bought 1997, now cracked, mouldy and in a very sad and sorry state of decay, but ultimately impossible) and a stack of magazines I've accumulated over the years.
There's also an adorable pile of fanzines that would offer an interesting snapshot of music from 1996 to 2001 and mentions of bands now long forgotten, plus a shoebox or two full of mixtapes.
Oh, and the DIY clothes I spraypainted The Clash/Manic Street Preachers-style and wore so proudly back in my youth, set lists and parts of set lists, and photos of bands and signed stuff from over the years would also get chucked in there.