I feel such a mix of emotions about Brexit that I turned to music, and popfools, as a way to try and share some of these thoughts. I know you may disagree with me, and that;s fine, the views expressed henceforth are mine and mine only. There is no hint (or otherwise) that any of the bands or artists features are in support of Brexit, or conversely that they are not in support of Brexit. (Other than Preston of The Ordinary Boys, who we follow on Twiter, who definitely believes in Remain. Cheers Preston!)
1) The Holloways – So This Is Great Britain
Surely best known, if not revered, for 2007’s moderate hit ‘Generator’, The Holloways were surely the last of a wave of uninspiring British Indie bands. Yet did their 2008 track, from their similarly-titled album, predict the result of the 2016 referendum?
“So this is Great Britain and welcome aboard / A sinking ship that’s full of shit and someone nicked the oars” opens the song, and what a perfect way to describe the situation we now find ourselves in: Cameron resigning, economy f***ed, the rest of Europe hating us, and without any hope for the future.
But surely the song’s most pertinent line is “The truth is a different story / We’re all just a bunch of slaves.” Interpret that any which way you like, but it would be hard to defend the view of us as a bunch of slaves to the hysteria whipped up by Johnson, Farage, The Daily Mail and The Sun. Meanwhile “the truth”, as argued by those during the Leave campaign, has now been revealed to be entirely different post-campaign.
A much more revered band from the mid-noughties Indie club, but is this song really about our relationship with the EU in a post-Brexit scenario?
“You twist and tore our love apart” declares Pete Doherty at the start of the song, surely a reference to the role of the media and disingenuous politicians in Brexit. Next comes the prophetic “No, you’ve got it the wrong way round / Just shut me up and blame it on the brown.” How can this refer to anything other than blaming it on immigrants, as Farage, Johnson and their ilk successfully managed to do during the Leave campaign?
“Have we enough to keep it together? / Or do we just keep on pretending?” Of course, the verdict from Britain is a resounding: NO. We know that Europe can’t stand us now, and we seemingly just don’t care about it.
The first obvious link here is that a Brexit is absolutely fine (if you’ve got enough money to be able to ignore such catastrophic economic events such as millions being wiped off stocks in the FTSE and the sterling pound crashing). Therefore why should our ruling classes, the political and media elite, care about the “everyday” person? They’ve got enough money to not worry….
However, on closer inspection there can be many parallels drawn between the ‘girl’ in the lyrics and Brexit:
“If you’ve got the money / I think it would be funny / To take your girl and spend a bit of your cash for me!” Yes! Rejoice in the £350million extra per day that is going to go to the NHS in Boris’ post-Brexit Britain. Oh. Maybe not.
“Thinking of the girl lost / Check the odds, was it worth the cost?” Will Brexit prove to be worth the vast political, environmental, social and economic costs to Britain?
“What you sow man is what you reap” – Thanks for those wise words Jamie T. If only Britain had heeded you pre June 23rd.
Anyone who has had the misfortune of visiting or living in Coventry knows exactly what this song is about, The Enemy hailing from Coventry themselves. Can there be another song that beter sums up Little Englanders than this?
The whole song is a depressive anthem themed around the unwilling nature of these individuals to leave “these towns” and go and explore anywhere outside their little corner of England.
“Well the toilets smell of desperation / the streets all echo of aggravation”. The aggravation against immigrants, whipped up by the media. I’ve no doubt that many Brexiters were desperate, desperate enough to believe the lies shoved down their throats by Farage, Boris and the media.
I can’t leave the playlist on a depressing note, however depressed I feel about Brexit right now. After The Enemy, we need uplifting with some good thoughts from Patrick Wolf. The song is a good fit for the playlist because it starts in a very downbeat manner, with sparse and threatening synth beats. However it does end in a lovely, optimistic, uplifting manner with many strings attached.
Firstly, this song name checks Paris, Berlin, and London. 3 cities which surely must co-operate together for mutual benefit.
The chorus of the song couldn’t be clearer; “And I can do this alone / But we can do this so much better / Together, together, together.
And I can make it alone / We can make it so much better / Together, together, together, together.”
My hope for the future? Let’s not do this alone Britain; let’s do this together with the rest of Europe.
BONUS TRACK: The Ordinary Boys – On An Island (Spotify link)
Any list would surely not be complete without long term popfools favourites The Ordinary Boys. Whilst ‘On An Island’ is a satirical, tongue-in-cheek commentary on modern Britain, it nonetheless manages to encapsulate many a Brexiter.
“Wer’e only living in GMT / Everyone else is just a refugee” sings Preston with more than a hint of irony.
However, the chorus of “We’re on an island in the sea / We’re on an island we never leave” hints at the reality of Brexiters who want to limit our own free movement to live, work, holiday and travel to 27 different European countries without visas.