Tuesday, 13 April 2010


"I love your oil refineries, motor factors, motor works, sewage plants, factory farming, theme pubs, launderettes, transport caffs, haulage firms, betting shops. People who look so dowd. Swaggering aggressive young 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 ..." Jah Wobble's A13 is an astonishing achievement. It captures, perhaps more than any other inclusion here, exactly that strange mix of disgust and affection that drives this project. I would argue that only someone born and raised in the Greater London area, of it but necessarily part of it, could have written what is a remarkable piece of poetry. "O land of my father. Ancient warrior Celtic race. How are your tomatoes doing?" I am particularly grateful to Daniel for suggesting it be included here. I like the idea of the A13 as symbol of the east London/Essex heartlands it runs right through. And the detail is spot-on and frighteningly apt. I haven't (yet) read his memoirs but clips of an old interview from 1984 capture something of what's behind the song. Much of Wobble's solo work is magnificent, but it is impossible to ignore the impact of Public Image Limited and what were often London songs in their way ...


  1. Not Billy Bragg's A13 Trunk Road To The Sea?

  2. Wow. Never heard that. Brilliant.

  3. One of the best road songs ever. As a truck driver i've done the A13 more than a few times and did it tonight for the first time in a while. Couldn't keep the song/poem out of me head for miles before even joining the 13. Some of the landmarks need updating but the essence of the road and it's corridor captured by JW so well remains intact, it's perfect oh so perfect......