Tag Archive | fighting for crumbs

2016 Yearly Round up

Here’s a selection of images of the art and exhibitions I did this year, and links to best blogs I’ve written. This year has largely been occupied by a large collective project called ‘Fighting for Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) – for which you can see our documentary, produced by DEADIDEA on the video section of this website; an intensive exhibition early in the year called ‘Under Digital Rain’, and on-going work for the collective ‘The Retro Bar at The End of The Universe’.  I feel there’s enough content within the writing and art itself to save me having to sum up 2016 both on a personal and worldly level.

Cheers: John

 

List of written work, including writings for The Retro Bar at The End of The Universe

A Lifetime’s Worth of Staring at Train Announcement Boards

This Land

Total Recall (This is The Day …you thought your life would change)

A Visit To ‘Sheffield and The Nuclear Winter’ Exhibition, and a Whole Lot More…

England’s Nervous Breakdown

Fighting For Crumbs…

Songs For My Punchdrunk Idealism

Fighting For Crumbs – a Virtual Tour

(Stories From Time-locked Space. 1)

JD Taylor – Island Story: Journeys Through Unfamiliar Britain

Stories From Time-Locked Space. 2

Stories From Time-locked Space. 3

Stories From Time-Locked Space. 4

 

 

Fighting for Crumbs, at The World Transformed, Liverpool

I was very pleased to be invited to exhibit at The World Transformed, a 4 day festival hosted by Momentum as The Labour Party held their conference,  and the leadership election results were announced, in the very same city. It felt great to be taking our exhibition project ‘Fighting For Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) to the Black-E in Liverpool, to have our work in the same location as speeches by many figureheads at the forefront of a movement to push for much needed changes to the way politics is done and society is run.


#TWT2016 is about practising the new politics. We believe in a positive, future oriented approach to changing society. We believe in amplifying unheard, grassroots voices. We believe in broadening the definition of politics to include art, music and spoken word. We believe that politics is a bout more than just PMQs and Westminster. 

With Fighting For Crumbs being somewhat instigated by the ask to do something to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Redshed  (Wakefield Labour Club), we worked with the organisers of The World Transformed find a way of using ‘Redsheds’ to exhibit our work and documentary by Connor Matheson. Here are some photographs of the project.

The World Transformed – Liverpool, 24-27 September

 

I will be showing a few of my pieces alongside more from our recent Fighting For Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberalism) project, at The World Transformed, an exciting event going off in Liverpool next week from the 24th to the 27th.

“The World Transformed is a celebration of politics, art, music, culture and community. Hosted by a coalition of grassroots groups and powered by Momentum, The World Transformed will promote a radical, positive vision for the future.

Running alongside the Labour Party Conference, 23rd – 27th of September in Liverpool, we will host over 200 hours of workshops, talks, art exhibitions, gigs and cultural events. While there will be big name speakers, we are particularly excited to host a range of inspiring grassroots groups who wouldn’t usually be able to exhibit at conference..

The vast majority of the festival will be free to attend. All of the festival will be open to the public. Information on tickets, accommodation and transport are coming soon.

THE WORLD TRANSFORMED

24th – 27th September.”

£$[We]€$[Can’t]$£[Take]£€[Any]$€[More!!]$£ (2016) is one of the pieces I will be showing

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JD Taylor – Island Story: Journeys Through Unfamiliar Britain

 

I’ve finally finished reading JD Taylor’s brick of a book ‘Island Story: Journeys Through Unfamiliar Britain’ published by Repeater Books. Admittedly I missed most of the section on Scotland, due to a large pen leak defacing most of the section – but there again, being a visual artist, who carries everything he needs even when he makes a short journey means rucksack spillages happen against best intentions. But I read most of this 450 page brick (although it’s probably more fitting to liken it to a piece of sedimentary stone, carbon dated to the British Isles in the second decade of the 21st century), and although it’s a large book, it’s pleasurable reading.

I started following JD Taylor’s blog after taking an interest reading his 2012 book ‘Negative Capitalism’, published by Zero Books. In 2014 I realised he’d been undertaking the sort of project that had become close to my heart in the last few years: assessing the social spirit of the times by traveling the land, and getting close as possible sense of what it feels like to live in the towns and cities of this country. I caught up with the blog literally just after he had posted about traveling through the area from where I was reading the post! And I was intrigued by what he was saying from then onwards.

JD Taylor didn’t go around the Island telling folk what was and wasn’t, he actually listened to what they had to say. Listening isn’t an easy thing to do, and I’m as bad as the next person for making interruptions before somebody has finished a sentence.  I don’t think it’s ever been easy to sit down and let somebody else explain how they see and feel about the world, but certainly not in times where there is an intense social pressure to compete against each other for economic survival. Listening thus requires our want for empathy to win over our gut feelings to get our opinion over before others can. But for those wishing for a future beyond the current inertia, telling rather than listening possibly entrenches the necessary one-upmanship of a social model based around scarcity.

I asked JD Taylor to come speak at a recent art and film project I was involved in undertaking. ‘Fighting For Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberal Britain)’ was somewhat a response to being asked to show my artwork in the Wakefield Labour Club (commonly known as ‘The Redshed’) as part of its 50th anniversary events. I’m not in the habit of carelessly flinging works up on walls, and I was keen to do something that spoke of the political mood and social spirit of these times, to contrast with what my friend, and Redshed stalwart, Sandra Huthinson, said was the spirit of 1966; one of political optimism, in spite of the troubles in the world. Taylor seemed not only to speak for the same generation as my own, but I thought his findings upon the roads of this island were closely in tune with the aims of our project. I’ve never asked a writer to speak at an event before so it was an initially daunting task, but thankfully Taylor seemed more than happy to take part, and it became part of a larger tour promoting his book.

Within the island-round journey taken his book unearths forgotten uprisings to challenge the assumption that our collective story is one of putting up and shutting up. There’s a disconnect between Here and There, that seems to become an Us and Them. As a northerner there’s a tendency think we are the worst treat by the powers that be, with the locus being London. This isn’t an unreasonable feeling, especially when looking at the half-century’s worth of diabolical infrastructural neglect over this region. But it’s not necessarily true, and Taylor’s accounts of Kent, as he comes to the end of his travels, leave me quite moved. As it seems that many of the people populating a county most think of as England’s green and pleasant land are as struggling and confused as anywhere else on the island – possibly even more so due to lacking a strength through identity that still gives many in other regions spoons full of spirit every now and then.

The overall conclusion in Island Story is a sense of confusion but mostly defeat. I think he’s on the pulse when saying “young people are worst affected by the peculiar “nowhereness” of the moment” – I’ve heard this misdirected into a sense of personal failure in many who were traveling through their teens and twenties especially since the financial crash. However, the conclusion is not one of eternal defeat.  Aren’t many of us more punch-drunk optimists than pessimists? One section of his conclusion particularly stirs my damaged optimism. Taylor says that

“this sense of inertia and in-betweeness suggests the accruement of desiring energies around the block. Gathering force yet unable to release, time is slowing into one interminable moment before the extraordinary happens, what few considered possible even a few moments before.”

Whether this is a good sum up of this great book, or more of a means of thanking  JD Taylor for speaking at our Fighting For Crumbs event, I’d strongly recommend this book to both my like-minded friends, and my not-so-like-minded friends – after all, the conclusion I hope the book gives you is that wherever we are we all more or less desire and worry about the same things in life.

 

 

Reflections on 2016, so far

It’s been a bit of a weird year, and states of mind have conspired to bring the very worst in me quite a few times. But I feel I’ve been as on the ball with the production of new art to say the least. Most work has gone towards two exhibitions ‘Under Digital Rain‘ (curated by John Wright) and ‘Fighting For Crumbs  (Art in the Shadow of Neoliberal Britain)‘. I feel these exhibitions are the outcome of focuses  (in and out of all parts of life) that have taken up my past 5/6 years. I’ve been saying this for most exhibitions for a couple of years. But with these 2 shows I feel I’ve actually started to get it together properly – with the help of fellow artists and philosophical companions. Although I am working on a project with John Wright, and Dave Jarvis, called The Retro Bar at The End of The Universe, right now I’ve been transmitting far too much, and now to start to doing some receiving, listening to what people have to say in the our post-Brexit UK.


January

This Land – https://johnledger.me/2016/01/17/this-land/


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NoteToSelf (2016)

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Tired of Life (“I Want To Leave Myself”)

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Untitled

 

 

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£$[We]€$[Can’t]$£[Take]£€[Any]$€[More!!]$£

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£$[We]€$[Can’t]$£[Take]£€[Any]$€[More!!]$£

Hunger Games Darwinism (900x1280)

Hunger Games Darwinism

Bound up in Binary

Bound up in Binary

I am Becoming Nothing (Closure no3)

I am Becoming Nothing

Streamed Out

Streamed Out

The Capacity to Care (1370x2000)

The Capacity To Care

Rot_in_Silence_2016

Rot_in_Silence_2016 (a work I made in response to being asked to contribute an original print to a crowdfunder for the film Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle

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The Worldwide Oneupmanship

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Under Digital Rain

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The Worldwide Oneupmanship

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The Worldwide Oneupmanship

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Under Digital Rain


England’s Nervous Breakdown https://johnledger.me/2016/06/29/englands-nervous-breakdown/


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YOUR Freedom

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YOUR Freedom

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A Grief That’s Been Gagged and Buried

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Fighting For Crumbs – ‘Broken Slates’ installation

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Fighting For Crumbs

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Fighting For Crumbs

Fighting For Crumbs – a Virtual Tour

We were all really pleased with how the works played off one another;  a coherence of many preoccupations that made up the reasons for having this exhibition which addressed political pessimism, the age of disbelief, austerity and the overlooked areas of the UK.

Whilst John Wilkinson’s paintings addressed the damage done both by once worker-hungry industries, and then their disappearance in a global market economy that then told these workers to become entrepreneurs of themselves, Connor Matheson’s photography documents these very areas a generation on, a landscape with little more opportunity than call-centre dead-end jobs. The Dearne Vallery, Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Wakefield.

John Wilkinson’s paintings also deal with the post-colonial nationalism that chokes the UK’s horizons, clouding out a future that would lead us from making the same mistakes and get us out of spiraling destructive cycles. Amidst these paintings is an installation by Corinne Deakin, which, more than anything, I feel looks either like flotsam and Jetsom in-the-making or something in decay that refuses to accept it; a empire built on maritime dominance that refuses to give up its ghosts and in process drags everything else down with it.

I wanted to put works into the show that both addressed the mood of the land and looked at the geography of the area that connects up the Post-industrial Yorkshire towns intrinsic to the Fighting For Crumbs project. First off I wanted to get the poet Jonathan Butcher involved. John’s poetry is subtly political, a gritty realism and focus on the landscape he has seen community disintegration and lost futures from within. I worked with him to make a way of getting his words into an art exhibition. Growing up on Hall Road, in the Handsworth area in the eastern suburbs of Sheffield, I tried in to incorporate some of my memories of seeing the nearby Manor Estate in a state of dereliction, with the fact that the Sheffield Parkway trunk road slices Hall Road in two, to make a place for Jonathan to write his poetry that visualised community/social disintegration.

I made a installation centred around a large memory map of The West Riding of Yorkshire I undertook in 2013, mainly focussing on Barnsley, Wakefield, Leeds and Sheffield that documents the visible impacts of austerity next to feelings of confusion, frustration, alienation. I incorporated a other geographically-focused works that look at the mood of the country through the first ‘season’ of austerity, the run up to the 2015 election, and then the run up to the EU referendum. Always intent on tying together the areas where Fighting For Crumbs is based around, being held at (The exhibition continues 20+ miles north of Sheffield at the Wakefield Labour Club, ‘The Redshed’, on Saturday 13th). And I have installed some of my drawings in the somewhat smaller Redshed venue

Somewhat hidden in the corner is Rebekah Whitlam’s installation ‘Vanitas Britannia’ that talks about how the riots, kettling, protest and upheavals at the turn of the decade have been swept under a ‘handmade’ carpet of a ‘keep calm and carry on’ crafts culture, satirising the tactics of a nation that retreats into its mythical past, by playing on the morbid theme of mortality that occupies the Dutch Vanitas paintings. “As a textile artist…[Rebekah} feels a pressure of balancing a vision of socially inclusive creativity without undercutting [herself] and other artists financially.” Adding that as a craft-skilled artist it is hard not to become part of the problem when “as handmade, locally sourced business cashes in on developing the streets, financial and emotional security remains distant for their neighbours and the divide becomes increasingly widened.”

It connects up with a running narrative in the show about the gentrification of a few ‘hip’ areas in these post industrial towns to the cost of all the surrounding working class communitiess which become invisible in their struggles. The fact the there is no lighting in the room both seems to reflect the dark colours of the Vanitas paintings. and, I felt, becomes a satire on the ‘keep calm carry on’ ‘Blitz-spirit’, austerity = black outs, narrative etc etc. Just make sure the that fact the room is unlit doesn’t make you think it’s not part of the exhibition!

The exhibition doesn’t so much dwell on the past as look at the inertia of the present; the future we have forgotten in favour of ways to guide us through the day in hand. We seem to have forgotten that we need something to believe in. The world appears a place in a downward spiral of cruelty and sadness, but dead-end pleasure-seeking in a depressed landscape doesn’t quite hold its excitement for very long – it just sets in stall a pursuit of even more extreme pleasure seeking later on. Fighting for Crumbs somewhat tries to visualise a country that wake from a defeatist slumber that it perhaps doesn’t even recognise as being in.

 

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‘Development Opportunity’ and ‘We’re all in it Together’ – John Wilkinson

 

 

 

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Installation by Corinne Deakin in front of ‘Draped in Faded Glory’ by John Wilkinson

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(Right to Left) A Man hesitantly looks at Thermal Socks for Sale in Barnsley – Connor Matheson, ‘Keep Calm and Keep Shopping’ – John Wilkinson

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Corinne Deakin’s installation in front of ‘The Imposition of Conformity’ by John Wilkinson

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Youth Riding a Small Motorbike – Shirecliffe

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Broken Slates – installation piece – Jonathan Butcher and John Ledger

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Poppies (For Jonathan Butcher) – a painting John Wilkinson produced for the show in response to one of Jonathan’s poems.

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Installation by John Ledger

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West Riding of Yorkshire: A Pyschogeographical account

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/144591777″>Lost Bus Routes and Pre-Election Rambles</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user18137640″>john Ledger</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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Vanitas Britannia – Rebekah Whitlam

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At the Redshed, Wakefield on Saturday, 1pm onwards, we will be showing our Fighting For Crumbs documentary, which will look at all the artist involved. We will be showing the brilliant documentary Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain, and JD Taylor will be giving a talk. JD Taylor is the Author of Negative Capitalism: Cynicism in The Neoliberal Era, and Island Story: Journeys Through Unfamiliar Britain

Images of Redshed show

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12.08.2016. Performance and poetry@Fighting For Crumbs

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On Friday 12 Aug from 6:30pm on-wards we’ll be having a performance and poetry event, alongside a last chance to see The Fighting For Crumbs exhibition

Nick Kilby

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Artist Nick Kilby will be breaking his two year performance fast to put something together for the Fighting For Crumbs event on August 12th at the Gage Gallery in Sheffield, located inside KIAC, Sheffield, S3 8DB. 6:30 – 9pm

‘”To the 330’ is a noise/aktion blood hex against an occupying administration. Be fun to see some of y’all. There will be no milk x”

 

Jeff Jethro Platts

Jeff is a singer with Parson’s Lot and CAMBODiA, a writer, performer, activist, campaigner, ex miner, ex many things.

 

follow our events page on facebook to keep up to date. https://www.facebook.com/events/1766943633588740/permalink/1777196522563451

6:30-9pm, Gage Gallery. The Lions Works, 40 Ball St, Sheffield S3 8DB

 

 

Friday 12 August. Fighting For Crumbs – Poetry and performance night

On Friday 12 August as part of Fighting For Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) there will be performance and poetry within our exhibition at Gage Gallery, Sheffield, starting at 6:30 and running until 9pm.

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Artist Nick Kilby will be breaking his two year performance fast to put something together for the Fighting For Crumbs event on August 12th at the Gage Gallery in Sheffield, located inside KIAC, Sheffield, S3 8DB. 6:30 – 9pm

‘”To the 330’ is a noise/aktion blood hex against an occupying administration. Be fun to see some of y’all. There will be no milk x”

Our poets and poetry readings are yet to be confirmed, but follow our events page on facebook to keep up to date. https://www.facebook.com/events/1766943633588740/permalink/1777196522563451/

A Grief That’s Been Gagged and Buried (2016)

A Grief That’s Been Gagged and Buried (2016, mixed media on A3)

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I don’t know when you could say such a time began (maybe at some point during the past decade or even earlier?), but I sense we are overdue some grieving time. And that’s because our civilisation (specifically our faith in a capitalist model – one based on exponential growth – to bring well-being and prosperity) has died. Grief is a natural process in order that we can rehabilitate so as to move on to the next stage of life, but it has been emphatically denied us. Its existence has been denied, and the denial has been played out in a turbo-charging forwards with the persistence of now-dead beliefs. And look at the pain that it is causing; to be forced to work harder for something deep down we know is not only going nowhere, but is in a process of perpetual deterioration. It has made knowing-zombies out us, an anxious-undead, clutching our Iphones, trying to climb out of the daily dread. But it has to give-way at some point. More and more of us are suffering under the psychological strain of knowing we will have to work harder and harder for diminishing returns from a dead/dying system, and all around you can see people cracking up. Nobody knows what this outcome will finally lead to, but there is potential for a rebuilding, not so much physically, but culturally. However, right now we are in need of an healing process.

This work will feature in the Wakefield Redshed section of Fighting For Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberal Britain

Fighting For Crumbs (Art in the Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) is a group of artists from Yorkshire working amidst the after-effects of Austerity Britain 2.0.

The project was inspired by the film ‘Invisible Britain’ (based on the work of Sleaford Mods) that looks at overlooked UK towns and cities, and motivated by a request to contribute to the 50th anniversary celebrations of ‘The RedShed’ (Wakefield Labour Club). The event is based in Sheffield and Wakefield and explores the position of art, and artists, in a period when we are all being pressured to ‘strive’ for crumbs – a time when wages are low, and the market dictates creativity

Gage Gallery, Ball Street, Sheffield, S3 8DB

Monday 8 August: Opening night. 6:30 – 9pm
Friday 12 August. Music and poetry night. 6:30 – 9 pm
11-4pm

The Redshed, 18 Vicarage St S, Wakefield WF1 1QX

Saturday 13 August. 1Pm onwards. Film-viewing, and talk by JD Taylor
Normal gallery opening times: 8 August – 13 August, 7-11pm (call 01924215626 to check room is not in use).

England’s Nervous Breakdown

Lost for words

…not strictly, but they are wrapped up in a thick cloud of confusion and contradiction. But I’m putting out there EXACTLY how I’m feeling in the wake of last week’s referendum vote.

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Sheffield, 25 June 2016

Is this the nervous breakdown of a country? It’s becoming an unavoidable truth that what I’ve seen happening over the past few years has gone into overdrive since 23.06.2016. People around me having some sort of meltdown – something I suspect is happening because the strain and the pain of DECADES of Thatcherite Britain has suddenly become unbearable. Brexit, like it or not, seems to have worked it like an accidental alarm-switch.

Was Brexit an unexpected exercise of a country’s nervous breakdown, long overdue? And was this unexpected exercise the last, skewed, but true exercise of democracy we had left?

It is without doubt that there are people in places around the world enduring a hell the English (as this is mainly regarding the English) cannot imagine. But has this country, the first capitalist country on earth, finally broke down under the experience of late capitalism? Has life under this faded-glory-stained neoliberal project hit saturation point?

Last week I was off work, but, after failing to set up a postal/proxy vote, I wasn’t confidently care-free enough to miss voting. So I decided to spend my days off work heading a bit further than usual. It seemed the right thing to do upon a terrain that could, so to speak, be shifting under my feet.

On Tuesday I cycled all the way from Barnsley to York (exhausted, dehydrated, thus all the more porous to the Northern Europe-like feel to North/East Yorks – the red-tile rooftops could convince you there was no body of sea between Yorkshire and Denmark). YORVIK . On Wednesday I went to London, endured a far-more than customary level of alienation at Frustration at the all-out ‘Remain’ consensus congregating around the Kings Cross-based leafleters (even though I voted Remain myself). I felt wounded and inarticulate in a London that felt self-congratulatory-soaked in something that was promoting a cause that had no idea of the type of wounding I was feeling, a wounding I KNOW I’m not the only one feeling, because the wounds are slumped in the city’s streets corners when it bothers to acknowledge them. An anger rising up through the drains of Thatcherite Britain.

But I had too many friends with too many SENSIBLE reasons to vote Remain and too many frightening reasons not to vote Leave for me to take such a reckless leap for the cause of the anger I’ve been feeling for so long now. And on Friday morning I was stunned into inertia just like everybody else.

Aren’t we all lost right now? Heads boiling with a million voices all at once. Looking for blame victims. But I won’t blame 17 million leave voters by calling them stupid or racist. Calling people stupid for what for them is a genuine concern leads to nowhere, except a self-congratulatory flurry of Facebook ‘likes’.

“The Cunt with the gut and the Buzz Light-year haircut…calling all the workers plebs” (The Sleaford Mods)

In recent British history nothing has been as divisive as the destruction of the working class base, built over years of struggle, fucked over by Thatcher, and the market fundamentalism then driven between us all. Yet we overlook ‘the war between all’ conjured by this, and we parrot the words of a more affluent less trapped metropolitan elite for whom issues of race and gender are solely moral issues, and nothing to do with class stratification. The result is what you see in the video above. A top down, media perspective, which doesn’t even need to be based in London to be London-centric, looking at all those intolerant, stupid places like Barnsley -cherry picking the mixed up and politically incorrect voices.“Oh why, oh why can’t they be like us decent London Folk?” A slowly bubbling rage.

“I work my dreams off for two bits of ravioli and a warm bottle of Smirnoff “

 

So, these places where the majority voted ‘Leave’ – what do we do with these people who refused to do “the right thing”?

In 2015 the documentary Invisible Britain followed the music group the Sleaford Mods on a tour of towns not on the ‘cool-list’. Not just ignored by other music groups but also by the London-centred gaze of society. Invisible Britain is perhaps the only contemporary documentation of the great ignored that hasn’t stuck to a preconceived, condescending stereotype, laden with mockery or contempt. Expensively-educated Sacha Baron-Cohen springs to mind…

When you hear the Sleaford Mods, the lyricist Jason Williamson’s anger, if you ask me, is like a momentary placing of the head back on the shoulders of the decapitated and disempowered body of working class rage. Williamson’s seething anger at the alienation and humiliation of a contemporary life experience many can relate to gives a voice to this rage when the world is made to feel so unaccountably chaotic that the only tools for understanding it available are tools to blame yourself with for the hell that surrounds you. But, as the film states, they are still largely a lone voice.

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Manchester, 24 June 2016

That which informs racist anger isn’t born out of fresh air. Nor can those who spout it vanish into fresh air  – which is what I often feel many on the diminishing liberal class long for. Out of mind out of sight.

What do you do with these people, then? “Get rid of the buggers? “. Create two separate States?  One called ‘London‘, for the ‘tolerant’ ‘open-minded’ folks and ‘the rest‘? Actually, doesn’t this petition already exist?  The ‘I’m alright Jack-multiculturalism’ mantra conceals an hidden contempt.

The Leave result has clearly blown everything else out of the water. And as denial against it kicks in, the truth of what has simmered underneath the seeming tolerance and liberalism of the past few decades is coming out. It’s nasty, and I’m sorry to say the most upsetting things aren’t just coming from ‘racist idiots’ but from the younger section of the Remain supporters, chatting away in the cooler parts of town. Behind the ‘coolness’, their inherited social Thatcherism is rearing its ugly fucking head. Their contempt isn’t for the migrants, it’s for Britain’s socially immobile who will “probably never leave their home town never mind live in another country” (actually heard!). It’s an hidden hatred for the existence of those who “clearly haven’t tried hard enough to better themselves” and join aspirational and cosmopolitan Britain. It’s not a contempt for people from other countries, it’s a contempt for the working class of this country, and it’s equally toxic – if not more due to its invisibility.

I’m sorry to say this but they may have just sunken your cosmopolitan dreamboat…

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London, 22.06.2016

I can’t help but be convinced that, even though what evidently galvanised the victory for Brexit was a deep concern about immigration, the anger isn’t really meant for immigrants, but for the ruling class of this country, as inarticulate as the anger was. As self-harming as Brexit could potentially be to everyday people – it’s an anger about being ignored, overlooked and even looked down upon. And I’m not saying I don’t now find it all scary as fuck.

The same present day top-down reasoning bemoans the ‘loutish’ English for their seeming preference to take to throwing chairs and punches at other football fans than taking to the streets like the French. But after nearly 40 years of destruction of class consciousness and a narrowing of political horizons,  creating a state of stuckness that Mark Fisher calls ‘reflexive impotence’,  Brexit is a seismic working class revolt, even if it ends turning against the working classes.

The Ignored is geographical in nature, but it is fundamentally underpinned by class.

“The sorrows we suffered and never were free” Decades, Joy Division

In an article looking at why white working class children,  out of all ethnic communities, perform so poorly in the school exams they sit before joining the adult world, Paul Mason says that “Thatcherism didn’t just crush the unions, it crushed a story”. Far from pitting different working classes against others, Mason looks at what happened to a specific story. This was a story of a long history of struggle, from the satanic mills and mines of the 18/19th century, towards an increasingly equal and better country for the working class, propped up on paternalism and solidarity. But, he adds, “suppress paternalism and solidarity for one generation and you create multigenerational ignorance and poverty”.

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The Vale of York. 21.06.2016

Left to endure the hell of ‘prole-life’ with no explanation to the pain felt, or meaning to guide you through it, it’s clear that migrants, who are nearly always thrown into the very same Ignored-lands, are mistaken as being the cause of this pain rather than being effects of the pain being felt.

After 30 years of misdirected rage towards the neighbours, the headless zombie of working class rage reacts in a destructive manner. I’m not saying what has just happened is a good thing by any stretch of the imagination, but the limits of my own imagination saw that something like this was bound to happen in the UK at some point. The cause for either a leftwing Remain or Leave were not being heard because they appealed to how they thought people should think rather than how they actually felt.

In a competitive world everybody wants to speak, but nobody wants to listen.

A Psychic Timebomb (2013)

A Psychic Timebomb (2013)

Blair and Cameron’s  Britain…so much to answer for…

… a Negative Hedonistic Britain

Humiliation. Aimlessness. Shame. Anxiety. Anger. Dead-end pleasure-seeking.

Drink to take the edge off the pain. Drink to run away from the pain. Drink to locate the nature of the pain. Drink to find a way out of the pain.

Sooner or later you can’t see anything else. And I’m not even alcoholic –  I just can’t deal with it all once the sun goes down.

I’ll be honest, I’ve hit a point in my life where I don’t think I can carry on in this manner much longer….I’m hearing you England.

Regarding the past ten years I can’t yet express the pain at the deep regret at the world I’m supposed to function in. It bursts out in drunken self destruction- it’d be articulated in sober tears if I hadn’t become so walled up over the years.

“Keep calm and carry on”.

It’s very hard not to internalise negativity. After all, it’s encouraged by a process that has seen this island become increasingly private and lonely over the past few decades.

“Feeling uneasy? then stick your headphones in and drift into private inertia”.

But with each passing post-2010-year I’m finding that what I thought was MY Story – that my struggle with depression has felt to have been caused by a loss, and REVERSAL of a sense that the world was becoming and fairer, more tolerant, less cruel place –  was actually lots of other peoples’ too. It’s just that it was experienced in loneliness. It turns out that through the last decades of the 20th century many of us thought the millennium would be the harbinger of something better, and the cost on general well-being from the reversal of this conviction must be so huge.

Post-Rave. Post Britpop. Post Binge-drink Britain… what next?

And so to Friday 24 June…

As my train traveled through Manchester, and as a country tries to function after the morning’s news, I look up at the hills that circulate the world’s first modern city. This is a nervous breakdown!  It sort of comforts me in some odd sense, because I feel like I’ve been heading towards one for a long time, and it looks like the rest of the country has found its rightful place beside me for this mass collective breakdown. Things could get very dark very quickly, if the racist incidents being caught on film are anything to go by, but I’m in a Kate Bush-methadone right now, as I listen to a slightly slowed-down version of her Wuthering Heights. It seems to always stir a deep conviction of there being something better beyond, for which the pennines (whichever side of the pennines) seem to become a more than adequate threshold to. Some of us can’t give up on Utopia.

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Barnsley. 27.06.2016

LET IT BLEED…

Hearing that the English national football team had lost to a country with the same population as the Wakefield District (and  I think the problem is mainly just about England),  it felt like a symbolic act of surrender on a much larger scale. The country needs to collapse into a weeping mess, because if it pretends it isn’t having a nervous breakdown than the pain will just be extended and aggravated. Let this ‘pumped up’ ego-bloated nation, deluded about its place in the world, deflate, otherwise the pain will intensify.

This is as much a note to my easily beaten self as anything, but: right now, in the midst of what currently seems Dystopian, let’s not be swayed by the common rhetoric over the foolishness of Utopian dreams.Beneath my pathos, the pain I showcase idiotically at times is a unflinching dream of that better world.