Sunday, September 24, 2006


A13 – the ancestral trek eastwards, the spiritual path. From the crumbling shop facades of Commercial Road, many flyovers to marshlands of Essex. Land reclaimed, my soul reclaimed.

A13 – ceases to be an arterial road, becomes a guideline, a pathway, the astral plane, a way of life, a way of death. A giant metaphor for nowhere. Oh land of my fathers, ancient Celtic warrior race, how are your tomatoes doing?

A 13 – forever 3am, around and around the Rainham roundabout in gentle rain. Absence of hope, absence of pain.

A13 – cars race, thrusting back to back like a ritualistic symbol of a sexual act. Those brave men, overseers of the Ford production line, frontiers men. Their wives wear blue eye make-up and drive a smaller car, to see mum in Poplar when they have Thursday off from their job in Asda’s.

Oh A13…

I don’t want to move to higher spiritual plains, I want to forget destiny. I want to travel the A13 for eternity.

I love your oil refineries,
sewage works,
factory farming,
transports caffs,
haulage firms,
people who look so dour,
swaggering aggressive men who hate themselves, a carbon copy of dad, who really passed it on,
and their sisters, bleached blonde, already typecast in the role of victim.

And it’s perfect, oh so perfect. It makes me feel so cold inside. And that’s familiar territory.

Oh barren, hopeless highway of existence, I love you.

Jah Wobble, 1994.


Blogger Richard S. said...

Wobble... Now there's an interesting character in the history of post-punk. It seems to me that the most interesting things he's done had to do with giving exposure to some other, very nice artists (sort of like his former PiL bandmate, the industrial producer named Martin Atkins). For instance, Wobble enabled many people (mainly in those post-punk circles) to hear both Najma and Natacha Atlas for the first time. He deserves lots of credit for that alone.

Anyway, nice to see he has some kind of retrospective out. The most recent thing I heard from him was the collaboration with Brian Eno, which sounded a bit boring (there are newer ambient or (post-) techno artists who are putting out fresher-sounding things these days). But I might look into this retrospective, just because, as I said, I think Wobble himself is generally an interesting figure in the recent history of rock music, "crossover" dub, and even electronica. So, I'm glad I saw this reference, etc. (Just passing through...think I got here through MR Magazine comments, or something like that. Will stop by again...)

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its good to see that Jah Wobble is not making any assumptions about those people who happen to not live in London - Its a shame the oil refineries and and factories are not in North or West London, at least them a useful contribution would at last come from these areas.

Go ask your house master about it Paddington.

5:24 PM  
Blogger paddington said...

Another Rainham (or perhaps Romford?) resident goes on the defensive...

I agree with you Richard - his stuff with Eno is dull, and it tends to go on a bit too. His ambient stuff is on CD3 of the anthology - I hardly ever play it, except when I can't get to sleep.

The other two CDs are brilliant though. On the PIL tracks he pounds his bass like someone sparring with a punchbag. And as you say, his collaborators read like a list straight out of the Wire: Pharoah Sanders, Bill Laswell, Holgar Czukay, Sinead o'Connor, Natasha Atlas etc.

My favourite tracks are the versions of William Blake's Songs of Experience, and the two duets with Ronnie Drew from the Dubliners, one of which is written by Shane Macgowan.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by Richard, and definitely give I Could Have Been a Contender a go.

5:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home