Brexiteers, Gazelle Twin and Pastoral

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.








Joe Innes And The Cavalcade – Moscow

Imagine waking up one morning having dreamt that the love of your life is leaving you. And, they’re not leaving you because they’ve fallen in love with your best friend (which would, of course, be tough enough) but because they’re off to a cold, unfathomable place.

That’s the dream that Joe Innes emerges from in his wonderful new single, Moscow. Clearly, Joe is very much in love with the person who’s making plans to leave and yet that brings up all sorts of moral dilemmas. Do you accept their decision passively without trying to persuade them otherwise? Or do you run the risk of being labelled a controlling bully by pointing out the stupidity of their actions? 

(Click on page 2 for more about Moscow)

Louis Barabbas – Before You Disperse

It’s been a fair while since I’ve updated Sonic Breakfast. Festival season has taken hold and even though I’ve made a conscious decision to cover fewer this year, reviewing them still takes up a fair whack of my spare time. Great times were had at Lunar (review here), Sonar (review here) and Barn On The Farm (review here) and I’m very much looking forward to Beat Herder this weekend coming. 

 I make little apology for the lack of updates and concede any posts are likely to be sporadic until the summer passes and I find a tad more time.

 The world feels like a very different place since I last blogged. Inconceivably, the UK voted to leave the EU and subsequent events have both shocked and destabilised. A new Prime Minister, a Labour Party in opposition and in self destruct disarray, increased economic vulnerability and a despicable increase in reported hate crime as the vote to leave seems to have given a misplaced confidence to the voice of racist scum. 

 We all seem angrier, less capable of listening to each other. This is no summer of love but rather a season of discontent. 

 I’ve featured the fab Louis Barabbas on Sonic Breakfast before (here). I went along to his Musician gig and reviewed it for the Mercury. It’s always a pleasure to hear from him. Today, I received an E-mail telling me about an EP he’s releasing on the 22nd July, an EP that raises money for Médecins Sans Frontières, in response to recent events in UK politics and the world.

 As Louis says in his mail, “It’s an EP of political songs (two songs from the point of view of our sleazy elite and two a response from those affected by all the stuff happening at the moment), admittedly a bit of a rush job but just wanted to make some sort of (probably pointless) gesture in the vague direction of horrendous politicians and generally dismal times.”

 They’re songs from the musical that Louis was developing when I saw him live at the Musician. It’s a compelling EP and for an excellent cause in MSF so I’d urge readers to head on over to on the 22nd to make an investment. 

 Here’s a lyric video for the EPs final track, ‘Before You Disperse’. It’s a track that tries desperately to find an optimistic and uplifting path away from the gloopy and gloomy mud that we currently stomp through. It’s a peaceful call to arms, a statement that suggests there’s still strength in unity rather than division. Perhaps the power to the people sentiment is pointless but there’s surely no harm in collective hugs. Listening to it tonight made me feel a little bit better and more resolved to act. 

 We’re not beaten yet (though I might feel that way after this weekend).