How to describe the particular type of nausea induced by last might’s Brit Awards? It was not so much the music itself – bands like Bastille and Rudimental are producing catchy, modern pop, and I loved the choreography in Bruno Mars’ performance of ‘Treasure’. Rather, it was everything else about the event itself: The arrogant, cursory acceptance speech by Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner; Harry Styles’ joke “what did we win” when he arrived late on stage to collect an award; and presenter James Corden’s constant references to people taking cocaine in the loos. The entire programme seemed to be channelling a drug bore, who thinks he is being the life of the party when in fact he is rambling and obnoxious.
Thinking about the ‘Bollocks To Nick Griffin‘ video I posted set me reminiscing about the Imagined Village ‘Empire and Love‘ concert I attended in 2010. Chris Wood is part of the collective, and before the main event he performed an acoustic set. Among the songs was an amazing, chilling song about the killing of Jean Charles De Menezes. I did not realise until now that the track is called ‘Hollow Point’ and actually won best song at the 2011 Folk Awards.
I still remember the chill I felt when I first heard Chris sing the words “He never heard the footsteps behind him / by the bus stop at Tulse Hill”. In that moment, what was an abstract story of an everyman trying to make his way in the world becomes a frighteningly specific narration of the final moments of one particular person. The accompaniment is a simple acoustic guitar, but the lyrics build to an inevitable crescendo, just as the CCTV footage we have seen of De Menezes on that day builds to the inevitable, appalling, unseen dénouement down in the carriage.
@elizacarthy "Bible Teaching For A New Generation"!?
— Robert Sharp रोबर्ट शार्प (@robertsharp59) October 24, 2012
Earlier this week I had a short exchange on Twitter with Mercury nominated Eliza Carthy, who pointed me towards a ‘Bollocks to Nick Griffin‘ video put together by the Imagined Village collective. Griffin had claimed Carthy’s English folk music as somehow the preserve of white people, so the musicians created a rude online rejoinder.