Thursday, August 1, 2013

Time for Action..This Is The Time...

The Clash, The Specials, The Selecter, Paul Weller, Billy Bragg, Tom Robinson, Elvis Costello, The The and many others were at the forefront of trying to articulate what huge swathes of the population were feeling and thinking the last time we had a Tory government back in the late 70's and throughout the 80's. Whatever your views are about the ability of musicians to influence people's views at least they got up off their collective arses and tried to do something, as the below article from Wiki shows.. 

Red Wedge was a collective of musicians who attempted to engage young people with politics in general, and the policies of the Labour Party in particular, during the period leading up to the 1987 general election, in the hope of ousting the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. Fronted by Billy Bragg (whose 1985 Jobs for Youth tour had been a prototype of sorts for Red Wedge), Paul 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. The group was launched on 21 November 1985, with Bragg, Weller, Strawberry Switchblade and Kirsty MacColl invited to a reception at the Palace of Westminster hosted by Labour MP Robin Cook. The collective took its name from a 1919 poster by Russian constructivist artist El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge. Despite this echo of the Russian Civil War, Red Wedge was not a communist organisation; neither was it officially part of the Labour Party, but it did initially have office space at Labour's headquarters. The group's logo, also inspired by the Lissitzky poster, was designed by Neville Brody. Red Wedge organised a number of major tours. The first, in January and February 1986, featured Bragg, Weller's band The Style Council, The Communards, Junior Giscombe, Lorna Gee and Jerry Dammers, and picked up guest appearances from Madness, Heaven 17, Bananarama, Prefab Sprout, Elvis Costello, Gary Kemp, Tom Robinson, Sade, The Beat, Lloyd Cole, The Blow Monkeys and The Smiths along the way. When the general election was called in 1987, Red Wedge also organised a comedy tour featuring Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane, Craig Charles, Phill Jupitus and Harry Enfield, and another tour by the main musical participants along with The The, Captain Sensible and the Blow Monkeys. The group also published an election pamphlet, Move On Up, with a foreword by Labour leader Neil Kinnock. After the 1987 election produced a third consecutive Conservative victory, many of the musical collective drifted away. A few further gigs were arranged and the group's magazine Well Red continued, but funding eventually ran out and Red Wedge was formally disbanded in 1990.

Today seems to be more about APATHY, APATHY, APATHY as opposed to AGITATE, EDUCATE, ORGANISE.. Just maybe that is the lasting legacy of the Thatcher years - the "I'm Alright Jack" attitude that seems all pervasive today. Where is the new Strummer, the new Weller, the new Dammers ? Maybe I'm just holding out for a bygone era that is gone forever, but I will keep holding on anyway...

Kick Over The Statues!
It Says Here
Bonus Track


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