Why stars must sing out against the lying snake oil salesmen
MICHAEL Gove wants to change the law so that people can be free to scavenge on council tips.
We need more musicians to take a political stand like they did decades ago
It’s a wonderful snapshot of where this country is – assuring us, as it does, that austerity is definitely, definitely over.
And I can just imagine the conversation among the kind of people who may benefit from Gove’s largesse:
HER: “Where are you off to today, love?”
HIM: “I thought I’d go the food bank to get us something to eat.”
HER: “On your way back, can you head to the tip and find us a table to eat it on.”
HIM: “What happened to the one I got last week?”
HER: “What do you think that glow in the hearth staving off pneumonia is?”
If I was a lyricist I’d probably try to turn that into a song called “Taking Britain Back… to Dickensian times.”
I’m at the London Film Festival this weekend. If I were an actor giving a speech at a premiere, I’d like to think I had the guts to say: “Someone has just paid £160million for a flat in Knightsbridge, a couple of miles down the road from here, and is renting it out for £150,000 a week.
“If you walk there after this film you’ll pass dozens and dozens of homeless people who can’t afford a roof over their heads in this city. Is it any wonder why, when our morals have been so skewered by greed?”
Now, if you were a fan of my music, or acting, expressing such sentiments may make you want to boycott my work and I might become less rich and less popular. That’s the risk all artists in the real world run. So fair play to Roger Waters for condemning the neo-fascist Brazilian presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, during a concert in Sao Paolo.
The Pink Floyd founder’s appeals to the audience not to vote for his far-right agenda drew cheers, but also a barrage of abuse from his fans.
And fair play to Taylor Swift for urging her fellow Americans not to vote for Republican candidates who stand behind Bolsonaro’s ideological soulmate Donald Trump.
The same goes to Trump supporters Kanye West and Gene Simmons of Kiss. If they want to sing his praises at their shows, it’s their shout.
There’s been a savage backlash to Swift in some quarters, which I don’t get. Maybe some think, as an attractive young woman, her job is to sing sweet tunes while looking pretty and unthreatening, like some 21st century Doris Day.
But as Jon McClure, frontman of Sheffield group Reverend and the Makers said, defending Swift on morning TV: “She’s an artist and music is the most popular art form. Nobody would have said to Picasso, ‘Don’t paint Guernica, stick to vases’.”
At a time when voters are being conned by lying, snake oil salesmen masquerading as Men Of the People, we need more, not less, musicians taking a political stand as they did in decades gone by.
When I was a young, devoted pop-picker I bought records like UB40’s One in Ten, The Specials’ Ghost Town, The Beat’s Stand Down Margaret, Elvis Costello’s anti-Falklands classic, Shipbuilding, and The Jam’s Funeral Pyre (key lyric: “the weak get crushed as the strong grow stronger”).
I wish today’s bands had their balls and fire. To those who do, I say more power to your larynx.
If the critics don’t like it, tough. And if your fans don’t like it, then they shouldn’t be liking you in the first place.
BACKLASH But Swift was right to tell fans not to vote Republican