It may not seem the most obvious job choice for a man who fought the law, even if the law won. But Mick Jones, of

the Clash

, has decided on a more respectable career – by becoming a librarian.

The lead guitarist, who was at the centre of the punk movement, opened his personal rock'n'roll library to the public today, saying he hoped it would inspire and educate music lovers from around the world.

Sprawled across a 3,000 sq ft office space under the roaring Westway, off Portobello Road, west London, close to where Jones formed the Clash with Joe Strummer in 1976, the "guerrilla rock'n'roll public library" will include 10,000 items from Jones's personal collection, amassed over three decades in the music business.

It is the first time that Jones's full collection – which includes everything from Beatles knick-knacks and Clash artwork to items the band members wore on stage – will be shown in its entirety.

Jones, 54, said he hoped the five-week "civic endeavour" would challenge what he called the blandness of other music  exhibitions.

He described it as a "direct artistic challenge" to the likes of the British Music Experience, the museum of popular music at the O2 in London, that he described as "corporate".

The library – liberated from a lock-up in Acton – is likely to attract Clash fans but Jones said he hoped it would have a wider appeal. "These are relics of the last century. A part of British music history," he said. "It's a very personal collection but I don't want the library to be only for Clash fans. I hope it can be a resource and spark people's imaginations, create an idea of continual creativity."

Visitors to the library need not fear the dreaded library command "hush!" as they wander around the collection of records, pizza boxes from Clash tours, books, camouflage graffiti boots worn by the band on stage, and retro recording equipment. Instead they will listen to a personal soundtrack created by Jones, including songs from Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

And instead of peering into rows of cases, visitors will also be invited to interact with the exhibition through videos and computer technology that will help them to recreate old black-and-white punk fanzines.

They may even get a peek at the man himself as throughout the duration of the exhibition, Jones, who shared songwriting credits with Strummer on classic Clash albums including London Calling, Give 'Em Enough Rope and Combat Rock, before moving on to acts including Big Audio Dynamite, will be recording with up-and-coming bands in his studio next door for the Strummerville Foundation.

For Clash fans, it will be the only exhibition that matters this summer.


Rock'n'Roll Public Library, 18 July - 25 August, 2 Acklam Road, Portobello Green, W10 5XL. 11-7 Wednesday-Sunday. Admission is free

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