Yes, I have featured this song once before: A live version of “Career Opportunities,” the original studio version of which is on both the UK and the US versions of the band’s debut album, The Clash, released in 1977 and 1979, respectively. There’s an outstanding, albeit rough, demo version on the 1991 boxed set, Clash On Broadway, as well.
So, why play it again? You mean, why, other than the fact that it’s an incredible freaking song, play it again. Well, that’s because my Twitter pal Esma, better known as @ThundarKitteh, was on the BBC’s World Have Your Say radio program – er, programme – not once, but twice this past week, and was nearly on one of the Beeb’s telly (heh) stations but for an ill-timed flight that kept her from her adoring public.
But ThundarKitteh was not asked to make tea at the BBC, as the song goes. Instead, she was on the radio waves for some very serious business: To discuss rape and abortion in light of the bizarre comments of Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) about “legitimate rape” and rape victims’ magical ability to “shut the whole thing down” to avoid getting pregnant. Serious business, indeed; all the more so because Esma herself is a rape survivor.
I do not want to paraphrase Esma’s comments because they are too important for a quick summary, particularly a summary filtered through me, who, although hugely empathetic, cannot possibly speak for her. So I urge you to listen to what she had to say for yourself while the downloads are still available from the World Have Your Say website (see the 22 Aug. 2012 program entitled “Survivors of rape have their say,” and the 20 Aug. 2012 program entitled “Is Assange a hypocrite?/Todd Akin’s comments” – her segment starts about 23 minutes into the latter broadcast). But I will state the obvious: First, that it takes a level of courage I can’t quite wrap my brain around for a woman to speak so openly and honestly about what had to have been the worst experience of her life; and, second, that Esma’s calm demeanor, particularly in the presence of hard-line, no- or very-limited-exception right-to-lifers, was nothing short of remarkable.
This is important stuff, people. Give it a listen.
And then, after you’ve listened and you’ve been properly awed, come back here for the studio version of “Career Opportunities”:
And another great live version that, unfortunately, gets cut off at the very end:
[As an aside, I have nothing against Green Day, but it’s worth noting that they’ve spent their entire musical career trying to recreate this exact sound. It’s been an admirable effort, but nothing will ever capture the feeling of dropping the needle on a scratchy copy of the Clash’s debut album and hearing this song for the first time at the age of 18 in a college dorm room in 1980. That was a life changing experience.]
So, yeah, ThundarKitteh and “Career Opportunities” – two reasons to mention the Beeb on a Friday afternoon.
Anyway, you know what to do: Turn. It. Up.