#476: 1985, Billy Bragg, The World Turned Upside Down

by George_East on June 4, 2012

As this week has seen Ray coming out as a monarchist and putting up his bunting and Jackie attending jubilee events, I feel there is a need to restore a little bit of republican balance to this blog.  It is bad enough watching the puke-inducing suck up fest that has been the media coverage of the jubilee, without Allthatsleft joining in.

I spent today at a music festival, The Apple Cart in Victoria Park.  It pissed down with rain, of course (is God a republican, I wonder?), but the festival organisers had had the good sense to put all of the stages under canvass, so the rain didn’t interfere with what was a great day.  The festival was small scale but I saw good sets by among others Jeffrey Lewis, Gaz Coombs,  Beth Jean Houghton, Scritti Politti, Adam Ant, Josh T Pearson and Noah and the Whale.  Kevin Rowland from Dexy’s Midnight Runners played an absolutely kicking DJ set.

But the highlight of the gig was a fantastic late afternoon set from the Bard of Barking himself, Billy Bragg.  I haven’t seen him for 5 or 6 years, but this was the best I can remember him being for more like 20 years. He was far angrier and more political than he has been for a long time.  As ever he was also funny, engaging and thoroughly entertaining.

He opened his set with this cover of a Leon Rosselson song from Bragg’s seminal Between The Wars EP. He introduced it as ˜a song for the English Republic’ to a huge cheer.  It tells the tale of the radical Diggers in the English Revolution and of how they took over common land at St George’s Hill, Surrey for the common benefit of the people until they were violently struck down by local land owners.  It speaks of a different British tradition to that of the monarchy; a tradition of dissent and belief in a collective purpose.  This song and the Diggers are part of a British tradition truly worth celebrating.

And to be fair, so is Billy Bragg.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray_North June 4, 2012 at 6:50 am

I didn’t say I was a monarchist!


George_East June 4, 2012 at 8:53 am

Er, yes you did. Twice. Putting an adjective in front of it doesn’t mean you didn’t, particularly when the adjective was contextually meaningless.


Ray_North June 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Confused yes – monarchist – definitely not!


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