Thursday, 12 April 2012

Choosing a political subject

If you remember the early days of 'That's Life' with Esther Rantzen then you may just remember a singer called Jake Thackray who supplied the musical interlude. He played guitar in a similar style to me (or should that be the other way round) and one of his great influences was a French singer, Georges Brassens. I have also been inspired by Georges and although I am not keen on singing in English, I do manage to sing in French and in a broad Yorkshire accent à la Jake.

Both of these singers were raconteurs and both were politically aware and Jake even translated one of Georges' songs about opposition to the class system which is called Le Gorille or in English Brother Gorilla. It is not the sort of song that you would sing to your mother because of its quite obvious innuendo (if that is not a contradiction in terms) and because of their use of strong language.

What they were both doing was challenging the Mary Whitehouse brigade. They wanted their songs to be crude and shocking because they wanted to show that there were much worse things in life. How could people complain about the use of a rude word but not complain about going to war or the class system or capital punishment? They were presuming that the listener held the same views but even if they didn't then the singers would still get noticed.

I think we should hold strong views about things that are important to us. It is easy to get involved with subjects like a new link road or how often the bins go out or how often the grass gets cut but there are many other subjects that are significantly more important. However let's not forget the little things like bypasses even if my guitar heroes prefer more significant subjects.

Change the world

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