YNES – Better Job

As soon as he said it, the furious backtracking began. The slippery Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, maintained that he hadn’t actually meant to be so dismissive to the whole of the creative industry when he mentioned that they should all get better jobs. He even tried to justify his position by saying that, every once in a while, he listened to music. His colleagues in the Tory party chuckled amongst themselves whilst they looked forward to another trip to the ballet. He’d only said what most of them felt after all. These artistic types were a scourge on society; layabouts and wasters, the world would be a better place without their moans and grumbles. Get them working in ‘better jobs’ and they might be less critical of us, they all thought.

It’s typical of the party that doesn’t really understand huge swathes of the creative industry. Friends of mine were upset by Sunak’s comments but not entirely surprised. For years, these friends have struggled to make ends meet as they dedicatedly pursue their artistic dreams. They hold down second and third jobs that most wouldn’t want just so that they can get the occasional chance to release their art. Hats off to them – I’m pretty sure that countries where creative spirit is suppressed are not the sort of places I want to be.


It’s fair to say that Sunak’s dismissive approach to the arts got YNES’ goat. The post-punk artist from Coventry (“City of culture 2021 – talk about timing“) was angered enough to write a vitriolic, witty, tongue-in-cheek gem about the whole sorry state of affairs. You’ve got to love a tune that slams down its lyrical position right from the off and then doesn’t let up throughout. 

 “Maybe I should get a better job – one where I can wear a tie to work. Actually I’m a woman, it’ll have to be a mini skirt“, sings YNES at the beginning of the song. 

 “Retrain me, Teach me how to be fucking boring, Show me conformity, Please.“, she offers at the end.

YNES is a modern-day Toyah Wilcox, a sneering and pouting Hazel O’ Connor. She’s got stuff to say and is able to say it well. I don’t want her to become a banker or an accountant. That would be a waste of her talent. For now, she’s getting on with things and waiting for this whole nightmare to end. 

It’s given me time to sit at home and use what I have around me so I suppose it’s given me more creativity.”, says YNES. “I’ll be back in the charity shops when lockdowns lifted – pretty much the only thing I miss is scouring through second-hand clothes (so cliche).

Monday morning beckons the start of another week for most of us. Keep on doing what you’re doing. 

Neville Staple – Return Of Judge Roughneck

I can’t claim that I knew Elizabeth well. Over the past couple of years, our paths increasingly crossed as we watched the incredible story of Leicester City FC’s impossible premier league win unfurl before our eyes. We shared food and wine at weddings and birthday parties. We laughed,smiled and focused on positive things; this was Elizabeth’s way. 

 Elizabeth had terminal cancer. From the time when this initial diagnosis surfaced, there were the inevitable ups and downs. “It’s a miracle”, she told me when the cancer in her throat was re-assessed as simple scar tissue. She fought ‘the little fucker’ with every ounce of her weakening body but I think, in our heart of hearts, we all knew it was eventually going to get her. 

 One of those moments of respite came at a festival. Elizabeth, the sister of my lovely friend Claire, joined us for an alternative music weekend at Butlin’s. In bracing Autumn wind, out on the Lincolnshire coastline, we played in table tennis tournaments and giggled because members of our gang forgot to pack their pants. 

 That weekend, I had driven to Skegness on my own. I stopped for a bite to eat in a Little Chef and noticed Neville Staple and his touring entourage on a nearby table. As cheeky as it was, I bounced into their circle with an odd request. “I’m going to watch you play this evening. Would you dedicate a song to Elizabeth? She’s not too well.”, I offered.

 I was urged to write this down on a piece of paper else Neville might forget. I wondered whether anything might be said from the stage but at least I’d tried. 

(Click on page 2 to read more of this story)