“For some reason that film is still shown every New Year’s Eve on Russian television,” he marvels.
After that, a long period of inactivity set in. He made a great many pop videos but failed to shepherd a feature into the cinema for a further decade. Then, 20 years after punk’s heyday, Temple was suddenly among us again. The Filth and the Fury and Pandaemonium, his dramatic study of Coleridge and Wordsworth, were both finished in 2000. Glastonbury, a vast celebration of that music festival, emerged in 2006. And now we have the Strummer film.
“When he died in 2003 it was a big blow for everyone,” Temple says. “It was hard to believe. He was always the one left still standing. It took a few years to get over that. But we had this footage and we felt we should do something for Joe.”
Some years after Temple moved home to Somerset, Strummer – a stranger to the director for so long – stumbled in his garden gate and set about making friends again. Featuring a host of pals and celebrities musing about the great man round campfires, the film is both a stirring tribute to a charismatic figure and a reminder of Temple’s unique talents as a storyteller. It must feel good to be back.
“Yes. I guess so,” he says. “It is frustrating when you can’t get films made. But I want to be a father. Iwant to be a lover and a gardener. There are other things to do in life.”
A gardener? Ah, the life of the middleaged punk rocker.
Divided loyalties: director Julien Temple. Photograph: Gary