It’s not often that you get to meet your heroes. It’s ever rarer that you get to meet them and that they exceed your expectations. I was working for 6 Music when I got to meet not only Mick Jones but also Paul Simonon. Both were working the circuit on behalf of The Clash’s London Calling. It was amazing to think that it more than 25 years since the album’s creation and release. It remains one of my all-time favourites, though 6 Music’s Gideon Coe, who is a real man of music and gentleman to boot, would say that Sandinista is a better album.

However, to meet Mick was a delight being a Clash man and a QPR fan to boot but it was Paul that is my big hero. Bass player, artist, dude and frankly one of the coolest men on the planet. Even worse was the fact that he’s also one of the nicest. I regressed to being 15 again and had brought every piece of Clash vinyl with me to be signed – not very PC for work but what the hell this was a one-shot deal – and he and Mick dutifully signed everything. I was so impressed that it inspired me to give one of the albums away to a friend who had forgotten to bring his LPs in. Those albums hang on my wall and are an incredibly important part of my life, helping to make me who I am and what I believe in today. They, the albums and multitude of ideas on them, opened my eyes and made me question, want to learn and most of all be a musician or at least be involved in music somehow.

As befits the man, Simonon has kept moving on and is back with a brush in his hand, which is after all where he started. I don’t want to be Paul Simonon but I do want to have that independence of spirit, the ability to keep facing forwards and the smarts to live and work from the heart not from the head.

Thanks Paul.

Simonon has a new show of paintings opening in London, catch it if you can. And check out this interview from The Guardian.