Friday, January 11, 2008

Billy Bragg deserves recognition

I'm sure this will annoy some people, but as far as I am concerned for all the disagreements that I have with Billy Bragg's politics I can't possibly deny that he is a great songwriter and someone who has the ability to take one of his own (old) tunes and make it relevant to today's world and politics.

The following was recorded on the Henry Rollins Show (Rollins is a God!) and is a slighted altered "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward". I think Bragg's lyrical genius is worth respecting just like Tony Benn's Diary writing.

He'd never accept a Knighthood, but he probably should be offered one just for the media story of his refusal. Surely anyone who can take a left wing protest song and change the closing lyrics so they attack your own sides' current shallowness deserves recognition?
"So join the struggle while you may. The revolution's just an ethical haircut away. Waiting for the Great Leap Forward"*
* Yes I am well aware of what "The Great Leap Forward" was before anyone points out Bragg is invoking Mao's murderous insanity.


Anonymous said...

I really like Billy Bragg. He has great integrity.

I used to go watch Rollins with Black Flag , way back in my yoof. way back... He is an amazing person too.


dizzy said...

Sad to say I am too young to have seen Black Flag :(

Andrew said...

Billy's great but he should stick to love songs. Tank Park Salute should be on everyone's list for their funeral. Rollins is a big bad scary man, I remember seeing what must have been his first solo show in the UK (Duchess, Leeds, shortly after recording his first two(?) albums). Intense... and slightly homo-erotic, no wonder the few people there were shuffling back towards the door. Do you remember the first album 'Drive by Shooting' credited to Henrietta Collins and the Wife Beating Child Haters? And they say septics don't do irony.

Newmania said...

Do you know Dizzy I ever so slightly take issue you with you there
Bragg`s entire career has been one of posturing drivel. He is a professional Londoner (from Barking actually and not that badly off) and professionally working class( Never had a job in his life ). As his disappearingly small song writing and performing talent was never going to last more than for a month, he has augmented it by being a Dinky Toy lefty for the Press to play with.( It’s the Cliff Richard`s trick except Cliff did Christians. )

His earliest crime was to try and tame the gleeful amorality of Punk and cram bolshy right wingers like the nascent genius Paul Weller( boots not fit to lick ), into a PC straightjacket. The Jam were Conservative voters and their every instinct told them not to go along with the bourgeois left but their careers were in the hands of the brutally controlling media .They went native when they went up from Essex to London.
He turned Weller and got him involved in the shameful farce that was Red Wedge. Red Wedge included Weller and The Communards lead singer Jimmy Somerville, they put on concert tours and appeared in the media, adding their support to the Labour Party campaign. It was launched on November 21, 1985, at a reception at the Palace of Westminster hosted by Labour MP Robin Cook. It took its name from a 1919 poster by Russian constructivist artist El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge. Already you see Bragg presenting as rebellion what was invertebrate fawning before the arts and Liberal establishment and to the benefit of his own no hope career. An additional theme to note is the extreme pretension of the stupid name .

When it comes to stupid names the mother of them all must surely be Charter88. It was the British pressure group that advocated constitutional and electoral reform.It took its name from Charter 77 - the Czech dissident movement co-founded by Václav Havel and included Salman Rushdie and Pinter and various arts luvvies like Bragg who use to have a good old whine about their grants in Pubs around Islington Green .The real thing ( 77) was just a teeny bit more serious being an artist revolt against a brutal Communist regime. Several means of retaliation were used against the Czech signers, including dismissal from work, denial of educational opportunities for their children, suspension of drivers' licenses, forced exile, loss of citizenship, and detention, trial, and imprisonment. Many members were forced to collaborate with the communist secret service.
Consider the loathsome sense of self importance of Bragg and his preening pseudo rebels and the development of financial opportunities driven by profile raising left wingery continues.
Now he has become the Daily Telegraphs pet red , selling his disgusting gaudy baubles to any buyer as ever .He has consistently promoted the failed multicultural experiment and advocated a cod mystic working class solidarity even claiming lineage with working and and Mystic Genius William Blake as a fellow Londoner.

Dorset has a population of 407,217, plus 165,370 in Bournemouth and 137,562 in Poole (total 710,149 — mid-year estimates for 2006.91.3% of Dorset's population were born in England and 95.2% were born within the United Kingdom. 98.8% are indigenous, an extreme example of the disproportionately small ethnic minority population in rural areas.78% of the population are Christian, 13.7.

He is a James Hunt and there is no excuse ...shame shame shame on you Dizzy

dizzy said...

Don't care, my post isn't really about politics, it's about his catchy tunes, lyrics which can connect with people and his ability to rewrote his own songs to make them relevant as he himself gets older. What it's not about is whether he's politically consistent, is ideologically sound, or is a champagne socialist.

P.S. That the Jame and Weller were right wingers and tory voters is a common misconception based on a free comments in the late 70s. Some of there songs celebrate the left and deride the right. though.

Anonymous said...

'Talking to the Taxman about Poetry' must surely be one best lines, let alone titles, ever.

Politics aside, Mr Bragg is a good live act.

Croydonian said...

I had the amusement of seeing Bragg play live circa 1985, knowing I was the only person in the crowd *not* supporting the NUM....

Newmania said...

Did I say James Hunt ...I of course meant he is a James Blunt. Well I utterly disagree with you about his feeble songs but then I have always been into music.

Its the fact he moved to Dorset that caps it all though and his dreadful musings about Englishness.

Listen to some proper stuff Dizzy
I recommend and urgent course of
Bobby Womack ( Close to you)
Ruth Turner ( Stay with me baby)
Hendrix ( Fire )
Wilson Pickett ( I found a true love )

That should clean your ears out !

Paul Evans said...

Greetings to the new brunette (Shirley) is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I do like Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards, but he's been messing with the lyrics since about 1990, and they're never as good as the originals. Must I Paint you a Picture is up there too.

Newmania said...

oops I mean Ruby Turner and The Womack track is to found ,I see , under Medley monologue and well worth it too. Then maybe Belle by Al Green and ... Listen to that and then savour a wafer thin insipid whine courtesy canting Bragg and tell me his place in hell is not booked.

From our widow the acrid smoke from burning Jam records drifts into the ozone layer where he will dwell with my shattered illusions blub blub

jailhouselawyer said...

He should also get recognition for his jailhouse rocks project which it is claimed has reduced the re-offending rate of those prisoners who have taken part.

See today's Independent.

Anonymous said...

Does the man live next to a pie shop?

Rich Johnston said...

"The time that it takes to make a baby, is the time that it takes to make a cup of tea"