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Thursday 27 June 2024


This is another post brought via my box of magazine freebie CDs, this time a CD from Mojo in 2020- 'Mojo Heroes The Best Of 2020' (from the January 2021 edition but on sale December 2020- it came with a cover story about The White Stripes, a free calendar to go with the CD, and promised that inside you'd find the 75 best albums of the year- Bob Dylan's Rough And Rowdy Ways- along with articles about Neil Young's lost classics, Pharaoh Saunders, and AC/DC). 

2020 it's fair to say was not a year that turned out the way anyone thought it would. The news footage early on in the year from China and the Far East of deserted city streets and hundreds of thousands of people living in- new word alert- lockdown. It was followed by the news that Covid 19 had reached Europe and then the terrifying scenes from Italy. The government here was new, Boris Johnson having won an election in December 2019 by promising to 'get Brexit done' and to level up the places that lent him their votes in the general election based on the despair with Brexit and fear of Corbyn. Johnson would soon prove to be the worst person in charge at the worst time, literally the least suitable person to run a government during a crisis. Within weeks, March 2020, we were locking down here with workplaces and schools closing - and I remember the fear, the sense of being on the edge of chaos and loss of control in the week leading up to the announcement that schools were closing. Some people suggested it would only be a few weeks. In the middle of the year, May 2020, the killing of George Floyd by North Carolina police officers sparked the Black Lives Matter movement which soon became international. In the summer the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, where people received subsidised meals in restaurants and pubs in order to help the hospitality industry- a policy which many have linked with an autumn surge in re- infections. People were hospitalised and some died because the government offered half price pub food. By the end of the year we were in a muddle of Covid tiers, city lockdowns, a government that locked down too late, opened up too early, was determined (egged on by the tabloid press) 'to save Christmas' and then had to lockdown again in January 2021. 

We've forgotten a lot of this haven't we? Moved on. People talked of a restructuring of the way we do things but I'm not convinced that's really happened (although more people do work from home than did before). Over quarter of a million people in the UK died of Covid. Every one of them has a name and a family. One of them was my son Isaac, although he didn't die until 30th November 2021, long after the world had for most people returned to 'normal'. 

So, not the year anyone was expecting and in some ways it feels along time ago. A once in a century event, I hear occasionally as one minister or another tries to dismiss claims the Tory government has been incompetent (if you didn't want to have to deal with a crisis maybe you shouldn't have gone into government, I always feel like replying). A week today we get the chance to consign this government and the four Tory ones that preceded it to oblivion, the worst run of Prime Minsters and cabinets this country's had in modern times. I for one cannot wait. 

The CD is titled Heroes and the front cover, an African american woman in a beret with her fist raised in the air, reflects the Black Lives Matter side of 2020. Inside the cardboard slipcase we get Bob Dylan, Frazey Ford, Cornershop, Run The Jewels, Nick Cave (Galleon Ship from Carnage), Phoebe Bridges, Bill Callahan, Moses Sumney, Toots and The Maytals (Toots Hibbert died in August 2020 of Covid), Fleet Foxes, Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela (Tony also died in 2020, of an aneurysm), and Nubya Garcia. 

We also get this by Khruangbin, a lovely fluid and laid back piece of melodic pop with a very apt song title...

So We Won't Forget

Jarv Is... are present too, this from the album Beyond the Pale, Jarvis Cocker's album recorded in 2019 and then released in summer 2020. 

House Music All Night Long

The other band on the CD are Fontaines D.C. who have shown up in blogposts at No Badger Required and Dubhed over the last week. In 2020 Fontaines released their second album, A Hero's Death, the title track striking a deep chord with me- I've written about it previously. The song on the Mojo CD was this one....

I Was Not Born

How's that for electrifying? Pummeling drums and post- punk guitars and Grian's strident vocal declaring, 'I was not born/ Into this world/ To do another man's bidding'. It's a young man's song, the lyrics giving two fingers to the world of work and convention. 

Fontaines have released two new songs this year ahead of an album in August called Romance. The first single was Starburster. Starburster starts off like hip hop, rumbling in slowly. Last week they followed it with something very different, the childhood referencing and home video guitar pop of Favourite, a song that rattles along with guitars like mid- to- late 80s Johnny Marr and footage of the five Fontaines skateboarding and hanging down the pub. 


Martin said...

Favourite hits the spot.

Khayem said...

Great song choices, Adam, sometimes those Mojo CDs are spot on.

As a local lad, I would be remiss if I didn’t
CD cover depicts fellow Bristolian & BLM activist Jen Reid, or more specifically the artwork A Surge Of Power.

After the statue of Edward Colston was pulled down & dumped in the harbourside on 7 July 2020, Jen stood on the empty plinth and gave a Black Power salute.

Inspired by this artist Marc Quinn got in touch with Jen and created a black resin statue which was surreptitiously placed on the plinth on 15 July.

A timely reminder ahead of the election of why it’s so important to have a say next Thursday.

Khayem said...

* if I didn’t point out

Not sure what happened there!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Khayem, that's great, I didn't know that's who was on the cover. I remember having some 'robust' discussions at the time about the evens in Bristol and the toppling of the statue. I was fully in favour. Some people were very much against and were surprised that I was/am a history teacher and in favour of people pulling down statues in such a way. We all applauded when the people of Eastern Europe pulled down status in 1990 and when Iraqis pulled down the statue of Saddam in 2008 it somehow doing it here was wrong. Interesting times.
Swiss Adam