Yesterday I visited Parliament in London for a work thing. My job is nothing to do with politics at all but the company I was visiting on my Boss’ instructions were hosting an event in the tiny side room they call Dining Room B (It’s about the size of a standard dining room in someone’s house, trivia fans) and as the date approached I became increasingly ‘up for it’ as I’d never set foot inside Westminster Palace before. So while the date approached I kept wondering if it would be cancelled. The closer it got the more our country looked like it was to descend into chaos. What a week to walk those corridors of power I thought to myself.
I was there in the building less than 20 hours after the PM had survived a vote of no confidence that could have changed who was running our country.
It could have made a difference to the way my nation do trade with our European Neighbours and the rest of the world for the future of at least a generation. It could have been the event that crashed or saved our economic outlook almost immediately. It might have been the turning point that avoided or instigated future conflicts and kept tanks from borders across a continent or two… But in true 21st century British Politics style nothing really happened.
As I walked around Westminster looking for my entrance to what was basically a side room with no air con and some thinly cut sandwiches ageing in the corner My ‘2018’s best songs’ play list threw up this little beauty.
I think it’s safe to say at this stage there wont be a better record released in this rapidly ending year than Joy As An Act Of Resistance. I’ve already enthused at you all about Never Fight A Man With A Perm and 2017’s bonkers precursor Well Done in previous posts.
Idles will feature again in my wrap up of 2018 Posts on NYE too. This is because along side Childish Gambino’s This Is America and Amanda Palmer And Justine Power’s Mr Weinstein Will See You Now I think Great is one of the songs that actually narrates this foul year of our Lives.
What Donald and his shocking video do to address the NRA’s stranglehold on the future health and safety of America and what Amanda and Justine add to the #MeToo narrative is great art that acts as a marker in the sand. I mean, that’s not all they do but when we look back on 2018 with significant hindsight I’m hoping we’ll see scenes from A Handmaid’s Tale and The Purge movies mixed with news reel footage of Cosby, Cohen and The Cheeto in Chief going to jail and of crying families of slaughtered school children as a specifically 2018 issue that got resolved. I also hope my country gets its act together an organizes itself a group of leaders who don’t play games for self interests and instead get back to working for the people who put them in their privileged position in the first place.
So when Joe Talbot sings lines like
“Blighty wants his country back, Fifty-inch screen in his cul-de-sac, Wombic charm of the Union Jack as he cries at the price of a bacon bap”
I feel a stirring in my tired British heart. I feel the blood run thicker and faster for a nation that gave the world, David Bowie, Monty Python, The Internet, Newcastle Brown Ale and Iron Maiden. I want Alan Turing on our bank notes and Emmeline Pankhurst on a statue in Parliament Square. I want to give the Elgin Marbles back and Easter Island to restore it’s statues home. I want Notting Hill Carnival to never feature another stabbing and I want Glastonbury weekend to be a national holiday.
“Islam didn’t eat your hamster, Change isn’t a crime, So won’t you take my hand, sister and sing with me in time G-R-E-A-T”
As I walked back out to a wintery embankment with Christmas lights adorning the scaffold around Big Ben I thought of The Levellers (the peasants who revolted against their ‘Noble’ leaders, not the band) and Guy Fawkes, I thought of Ian Dury recording Spasticus Autisticus as a charity single and Helen Mirren stopping the play she was in, to go outside the theatre and tell a drummer making noise in the street to shut up. I thought of The Trump Baby Balloon I’d seen fly over these streets back in the summer and how that was a reference to Pink Floyd’s Pig over Battersea. I thought of Mo Farrah winning his medals down the river every Saturday night in August 2012 and of Gail Porter’s naked arse projected onto the house of commons building in my youth and in that moment I though… This is a brillaint place to live. Let’s not fuck that up.
“You can have it all, I don’t mind, Just get ready to work overtime, Because we’re all in this together”