Sometimes it seems to be so dark we forget that we are not alone. All it takes is the smallest flicker of light to reveal the truth. And that truth is - we are legion. Some of us were lucky to be present as Matt Johnson broadcast his Radio Cineola Election Special from his Shoreditch home - all twelve hours of it. Many more listened in throughout the day. Some contributed to the show, either dropping into the makeshift studio or talking via skype. Some interviews had been pre-recorded. The whole thing was being filmed by Johanna St Michaels for the forthcoming documentary Radio Cineola: The Inertia Variations. Over the course of the day listeners heard, Brad Lochore, and Lucy Rogers, geo-political analyst William Engdahl, Tim Pope, David Edwards from Media Lens, Zoe Hepden, Neil Clark, Denis Masi, John Kelly, Neil Sanders, Marian St. Laurent, Neil Maskell, Zeke Manyika, Stefan Dickers, Steve Pyke, and Matt himself, as well as a number of listeners who phoned in to ask questions. Artists, film directors, journalists, political analysts, writers, musicians, actors, photographers, educationalists and fans of The The. All with something interesting and heart-felt to say about the state we find ourselves in.
This wasn't just about the election in the UK. It was about the wholesale rejection of a manufactured reality that has been created by the so called elite, in an attempt to enslave the majority. As depressing as another five years of Tory despotism is, it would be a mistake to think that Labour could offer a real alternative to the right-wing shop front of the bankers and their self-serving chums. The two party system is a dog and pony show to distract the masses from the reality of the permanent unelected government. Labour's manifesto was more or less identical to the Tory one on all major issues give or take a few details. The truth of the matter is that privatisation of education and the NHS is a given no matter who pretends to be in charge. Neither party has spoken out about TTIP, and if Labour ideologically is supposed to reject Corporatism, the reality of a Labour party true to its own name that will do so is something long gone. Britain has been sold-off to the highest bidder, something successive governments have overseen. Whilst talking about immigration in a bid to instill a jingoistic outlook in the populace, the foreigners who really have damaged our sovereignty are the mega-rich ones - corporations or individuals, who have been given tax breaks, and tax evasion loop-holes to ease the syphoning away of the wealth supplied by the citizens of this country, now more correctly termed the product. As Sun Ra once said, "It's after the end of the world, don't you know that yet?"
So three cheers for Matt Johnson for dedicating his time and energy in order to shine the light, to keep the fires burning, and bring together just a handful of voices of dissent. As the broadcast progressed towards its conclusion, there seemed to be a fitting echo of 1987, when Thatcher tightened her vice-like grip with a third term and The The released Infected - as bold and melodic a statement of political disaffection as any. We are still the 51st State, and we need now more than ever the collective response to the lunatics running the asylum.
At the end of the night Matt said, "Looking at these exit polls is filling me with depression really." And of course it is designed to do just that. To make us feel like we are alone in the dark. But then there is a flicker of light and we realise we are not alone. We are in fact legion. We are the silent majority and we have to lift up every voice.
Last week I signed contracts with a new publisher, Aardvark Bureau, who will send the Matt Johnson/The The biography out into the world sometime in 2016, assuming I get the damn thing completed on time. Steering the ship at Aardvark Bureau is Scott Pack, who those paying attention to detail will know took this book on whilst running The Friday Project at Harper Collins. At the end of last year Harper pulled the plug on this imprint and Scott found a new home, thanks to Gallic Books who like the cut of his jib and want an outlet for those writers who don't ecrire en Francais. Anyway, Scott is a thoroughly decent chap so it was a no-brainer to move with him, rather than remain at Harper Collins with an unknown quantity. I also like the sound of what he has planned for this new publishing venture and trust that the book is in the best place it can be. There is a good chance that a special limited edition with extras will also be published. The extra content will be of interest to The The fans. As will be a special all-day election broadcast of Radio Cineola on May 7th. This is being filmed for a forthcoming documentary, The Inertia Variations. I will be joining proceedings early evening, so it wouldn't be at all surprising if a future post concerned the broadcast and documentary. In the meantime, here's a gratuitous pic of the battered tape box that houses the recordings that Matt hawked round as a cassette at various gigs in 1979 - See Without Being Seen.