Two Twenties Clash


A Column

GE2019 Autopsy/Scores On The Doors 2019

“My good old prophet Marcus Garvey prophesised it/St Jago de la Vega and Kingston is going to meet/And I can see with mine own eyes/It’s only a housing scheme that divides” – Culture

Whatever it is that divides us, said division has never been more resounding. As those of us on the left pick up the shattered shards of an exploding ideology following the filth and the fury of a debilitating campaign that proffered a reasonably basic choice between compassion/function and dispassion/dysfunction, the country has spoken, and it said: “Fuck the NHS. Fuck public services. Fuck the EU. Fuck workers’ rights. Fuck our free movement. Fuck trade. Fuck jobs. Fuck immigrants. Fuck young people. Fuck disabled people. Fuck poor people. Fuck homeless people. Fuck honesty. Fuck decency”. England is indeed a bitch, and there is no escaping it.

As the post-mortems stack up, and the opinion pieces flood in like the rain water that already precariously fills the ditches of this weeping nation, we await yet another prolonged bout of precipitation, before said ditches inevitably disgorge their contents, spilling filthy, furious water all over the roads that are so vital in getting us to our commuter jobs, and into the consumer houses of leave voters built on flood plains. As we dig deep at this festive time of year to buy our loved ones NHS gift cards, it’s OK to hurl racist abuse at passers-by, because the gold standards have been set from above. All’s quiet on the capitalist front, once again. Markets responding. Pensions bubbling. Entitled sighs of total relief. As Jonathan Cook observes, the bubble has burst, like the banks that will doubtless follow. The illusions of the left fly like a tattered red flag, fluttering furiously in the nuclear wind of propaganda fallout.

Just a week ago, as I wiped the tears of laughter from my cheeks in Leicester Square, at the heart of the metropolitan liberal elite’s entertainment industry, Stewart Lee‘s Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Cake Bumboys Vampires Haircut Wall-Spaffer Spunk-Burster Fuck-Business Fuck-the-Families Get-Off-My-Fucking-Laptop Girly-Swot Big-Girl’s-Blouse Chicken-frit Hulk-Smash Noseringed-Crusties Death-Humbug Technology-Lessons Surrender-Bullshit French-Turds Get-Stuffed FactcheckUK@CCHQ Johnson routine was already falling on seemingly deaf ears. Where on the ‘Content Provider’ tour, satirising the waxen-haired Etonian pseudo-dictator was greeted with rapturous applause and derisive laughter, this ‘Tornado/Snowflake’ audience were considerably less convincing in their veracity. As I laughed, I was increasingly aware that I was largely laughing alone. Tectonic plates had inexorably shifted, and I’m not eluding merely to the belt notch on Lee’s trousers alone. He’d hit the stage earlier with the quip: “Julian Assange has let himself go”, which is something the incarcerated and emaciated Assange most definitely will not be doing any time soon. The injustice surrounding the fate of the former Wikileaks founder and the fickle nature of a Stewart Lee audience surely set the parameters for what is to come? As Dan Evans-Kanu reports from Bridgend, “Boris has not been turned into a hate figure, quite the opposite in fact: his carefully cultivated image of the harmless, benign clown has been promoted relentlessly by the media, and this cosiness could not even be punctured by the rare occasions his mask slipped in public, revealing the sinister bully that lies beneath it”.

So, where do we go from here? Well, I for one refuse to get caught up in the blame game. It’s important not to vilify demographics, only to critique the system, not those trapped within it. We are the resistance now. I’ve heard defeatist talk of ‘one-party states’ and ‘being locked out for a generation’, but these perspectives are merely an extension of the propaganda that intricately weaves this fabric of interpassivity. Remember, if your various news feeds present a reality you don’t recognise, and scrolling through them leaves you desensitised, its important to recognise that we have retreated into a simplified and often completely fake version of the world. As rs21 states, “We knew that all the wrong people would be celebrating if Boris Johnson won this election. Donald Trump, the hedge-fund managers, the racists, the misogynists, the fossil fuel companies, Big Pharma, big agribusiness, the billionaire press barons. We all know the threat that a new Johnson government, and its supporters, pose to us, the people we love, live with, work with, care for. We are all too aware of the possible implications of a vote for these creeps in the crunch period of the climate emergency, after years of austerity, sadistic attacks on migrants, disabled people and the poor”.

Scores on the doors: Following the glowing response to last year’s tMx A-Z, we felt it only fitting to consign that particular format to the wastebin, where it rightly belongs. That’s the thing about being here now, it keeps you on your toes. The plan for a return to listmania with a raft of artist’s Top Tens was duly scuppered by a combination of time erosion and election fatigue. Instead, we’ve complied tMx Top Tens in LP, 12″, 10″, 7″, tome and celluloid flavours. It’s been a year of discernment here in the tMx bunker, where quality has prevailed over quantity. So, come with us now, as we dig through the crates to come correct with the very best in dancehall culture:

trakMARX: Long Players of 2019

1/ Ossia – ‘Devil’s Dance’ (Blackest Ever Black)

2/ Pessimist and Karim Mass – ‘S/T’ (Pessimist Productions)

3/ Logos – ‘Imperial Flood’ (Different Circles)

4/ Ulla Straus and Pontiac Streator – ’11 Items’ (West Mineral Ltd.)

5/ John T Gast – ‘5GTour’ (5 Gate Temple)

6/ Boreal Massif – ‘We All Have An Impact’ (Pessimist Productions)

7/ King Midas Sound – ‘Solitude’ (Cosmo Rhythmatic)

8/ Quirke – ‘Steal A Golden Hail’ (Whities)

9/ Tribe Of Colin – ‘Aquarius’ (Honest Jon’s)

10/ Rainer Veil – ‘Vanity’ (Modern Love)


trakMARX: 12″ of 2019

1/ Porter Brook – ‘Groundwork 001′ (Groundwork)

2/ Bengal Sound – ‘Never Mind’/’Short Stay’ (Bandulu)

3/ Ossia – ‘The Marzhan Versions’ (Berceuse Heroique)

4/ Al Wootten – ‘Body Healthy’ (Trule)

5/ Anunaku – ‘Whities024′ (Whities)

6/ Y U QT – ‘You Belong To Me’ (South London Press)

7/ Ghostride The Drift – ‘S/T’ (xpq?)

8/ Heith – ‘Stone Lizard’ (Saucers)

9/ Various Artists – ‘CL002′ (Cold Light)

10/ Logos – ‘Fifth Monarchy’ (Berceuse Heroique)


trakMARX: 10″ of 2019

1/ Kids C Ghosts – ‘Bankruptcy Dub’ (Not On Label)

2/ Bengal Sound – ‘Young Skeleton’/’Coroners’ (Innamind Recordings)

3/ Lapo and Ago – ‘Youth Pon The Corner’/’Legalise’ (Killa Sound)

4/ VersA – ‘Passing Light’ (At One Music)

5/ Adam Prescott – ‘Ism’/’Schism’ (Lion Charge)

6/ Bash – ‘Jubilee’ (Trule)

7/ Skeptical – ‘Musket’ (Not On Label)

8/ O$VMV$M – ‘CL002′ (Cold Light)

9/ Junior Dread and Halcyonic – ‘Can’t Hide’ (Firmly Rooted)

10/ HXE – ‘INDS’ (UIQ)


trakMARX: 7″ of 2019

1/ Roger Robinson – ‘Stay’ (No Corner)

2/ Tilliander – ‘Expect Resistance’ (Dub On Arrival)

3/ The Idealist – ‘Deep Shit’/’The Drop’ (iDEAL)

4/ Undefined (featuring Rider Shafique) -‘Three’ (ZamZam Sounds)

5/ Withdrawn – ‘Shelter’ (Empty Head Rich Heart)

6/ Andy Mac – ‘Dawner’ (ZamZam Sounds)

7/ Seekersinternational – ‘BadmanBoogie’/’KillDemSound’ (Future Times)

8/ Marcus Anbessa – ‘The March Of The Falasha’ (ZamZam Sounds)

9/ Jay Glass Dubs – ‘Thumb Dub’ (Dub On Arrival)

10/ Karma – ‘Crampton Beat’ (ZamZam Sounds)


trakMARX: Cassettes of 2019

1/ Ossia – ‘Live At The Brunswick Club’ (Tape Echo)

2/ Broshuda – ‘You Always Stay Beautiful’ (No Corner)

3/ Best Available Technology – ‘Broken Teeth And Dog Hair’/’Old Haunts’ (Plaque)

4/ Ula Straus – ‘Big Room’ (Quiet Time Tapes)

5/ Giant Swan – ‘S/T’ (Keck)

6/ Nammy Wams – ‘Yellow Secret Technology’ (GTI)

7/ Nkisi – ‘Destruction Of Power’ (Collapsing Markets)

8/ Zuli and Rama – ‘Noods Radio’ (Noods)

9/ Madteo – ‘Forest Limit’ (DDS)

10/ Salac – ‘Sacred Movements’ (Avon Terror Corps)


trakMARX: Book Of 2019

‘These Are Situationist Times! An Inventory of Reproductions, Deformations, Modifications, Derivations, and Transformations’ (Torpedo)

“I’m proud you call us gangsters, nevertheless you are wrong. We are worse, we are situationists.” — Jacqueline de Jong, 1962

The Situationist Times was a magazine edited and published by the Dutch artist Jacqueline de Jong during the years 1962–67. In its multilingual, transdisciplinary, and cross-cultural exuberance, it became one of the most exciting and playful magazines of the 1960s. Throughout its six remarkably diverse issues, The Situationist Times challenges the notion of what it means to be a situationist, as well as traditional understandings of culture in the broader sense and of how culture is created, formatted, and shared. ‘These Are Situationist Times!’ provides an in-depth history of the magazine while probing its contemporary relevance. The book also presents the material De Jong assembled in the early 1970s in collaboration with Hans Brinkman for a never realised seventh issue of ‘The Situationist Times’, devoted to the game of pinball.


trakMARX: Film Of 2019

It felt visionary at the time of viewing, it now feels like a premonition. For all the reams of column inches etched in response to Todd Philips‘ ‘Joker’, none have been more poignant than those of Slavoj Žižek“The three main stances towards the film in our media perfectly mirror the tripartite division of our political space. Conservatives worry that it may incite viewers to acts of violence. Politically Correct liberals discerned in it racist and other clichés (already in the opening scene, a group of boys who beat Arthur appear black), plus also an ambiguous fascination with blind violence. Leftists celebrate it for faithfully rendering the conditions of the rise of violence in our societies. But does Joker really incite spectators to imitate Arthur’s acts in real life? Emphatically no, for the simple reason that Arthur-Joker is not presented as a figure of identification. In fact, the whole film works on the premise that it is impossible for us, viewers, to identify with him. He remains a stranger up to the end”.


Final thoughts: this month’s header image features the home of Ronald Jarman Bridle, the engineer who oversaw the construction of Spaghetti Junction, at the heart of this broken nation. Whatever happens next, the solutions will be complexed. We are at a junction. The road out of this farce will require the massed vested interests of those who seek to inherit, not those who have cornered markets and entrapped the populace. They say that education is wasted on the young, but I suggest that’s largely designed to perpetuate this broken system, rather than co-produce something fit for purpose that could lead to greater equality and the redistribution of wealth. I, for one, will not go gently into that good night. I will continue to burn and rave at the end of the day. I will rage against the dying of the light. I raise a Beck’s Blue to education, agitation and organisation.

“The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side” – Paulo Freire, ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ (Penguin Books)


Jean Encoule - December 15th, 2019

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