“I should have got Cast! That’s so annoying! I was politicised by the miners strikes, so that record, which was expressing solidarity with dockers who had lost their jobs after striking, resonated with me.”
Do you think in the post-COVID tumult, we’ll see another rise in political and protest music?
“When I was making music at 19, there was only one medium for me to make my opinion heard – to buy a guitar, write songs and do gigs. Whereas now, there’s loads of ways to express anger, so people are putting their politics into debates online, writing blogs and making films. There’s still marginalised groups such as black youths and the transgender communities who don’t feel they’re being listened to using music in a political way, but the mainstream has become a little bland with Ed Sheeran and Adele fighting each other all the way to Christmas. I’m heartened by people like Sam Fender – whose music isn’t capital P protest or P political – but is still helping people make sense of the world. His music has real teeth.”
You mentioned the trans community. You did an anti-homophobia song ‘Sexuality’ in 1991…
“Yeah, and I’ve changed the last verse in that song now to reflect that transgender rights are on the frontline now. I now sing: ‘Just because you’re ‘they’, I won’t turn you away/And if you stick around I’m sure we can find the right pronoun’. All you can do is express allyship and I think music has a role to play in broadening support and solidarity for the transgender community because they’re hugely maligned and marginalised at the moment.”
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