I wrote this piece yesterday and then wobbled over publishing it. I’m not sure why……
It’s never a good idea to argue on Facebook (or indeed any other form of social media) with a supporter of Brexit. There must be somebody somewhere who can put forward a decent case as to why this lunacy is a good idea but they don’t seem to mix in my circles.
Take yesterday. The content of Theresa May’s speech at the Nasty party conference was nothing short of horrific but she did a nice dance to Abba so nobody seemed to mind. As the U.K heads hurtling off the cliff and the prospects of a no-deal Brexit loom ever larger, the argument of your average Brexiteer seemed to revolve around two points:-
(a) It wasn’t so bad back in the days pre-EU on our little idyll so it won’t be so bad post-Brexit.
(b) At least, we’ll get our country back.
Of course, the average Brexiteer has little response (save for ‘Fuck off you commie bastard) when you point out that they must be delighted with the direction that the Labour Party is taking. Those halcyon pre-EU days they so identify with were also times of nationalised industry, more council housing, more efficient education and health services and less pronounced extremes between the haves and the have-nots. And we got free milk in schools then.
The world has moved on – but not for those who exist by harking back to the good old days. They don’t seem too sure what ‘country’ it is that they’ll be getting back but vouch that a strong leader will surely sort it all out. At this juncture, it would simply be churlish to point out the parallels to the ‘good old days’ of 1920’s Germany.
In these times of turmoil it follows that great art is likely to be made. I wanted to discover some of the great art that slotted in with my current malaise and somebody (I can’t recall who) suggested that I gave Gazelle Twin’s new album, Pastoral, a spin.
It’s a dense record and not one that I can claim to enjoy as such. But it is a record that can be admired. Elizabeth Bernolz, the British composer who’s adopted Gazelle Twin as a stage name, is absolutely on the money about the current state of England. She’s bashed out a doom-laden industrial soundscape that verges towards the apocalyptic, the vocals at times as menacing as the fuck-ups she details. You immediately understand why she makes use of old folk instruments to create her scary vision. Because with lyres, harps and recorders, she’s emphasising the faux-idyllic, the good old days. The village green, a bastion of ‘our country’, might be getting tangled up in weeds and vomit but at least it’s still there.
I played ‘Pastoral’ to a Brexiteer. “Can’t we listen to some Ed Sheeran instead?”, he asked.