Article publié par le chanteur anglais Tom McRae

Publié le par Petit-Pied

I used to argue with my dad about many things, but mainly about religion and politics, and the state of the world. The arguments would usually end the same way. He would pause, sigh and then say in his best vicar’s voice: ‘well what would you do in the same circumstances?’ at once both neatly ending the debate, and also challenging me to get involved, to do something. And that is how I feel about many things today, I argue, I rant, I complain – often without being fully conversant with the facts – but then I usually decide to do something.

I stopped going to church when I realised there was no God – amusing my family no end in the process. I stopped eating meat when I thought me not having a bacon sandwich would bring about compassion in world farming. I marched against every new war, I helped drink the bar dry in solidarity with whichever Turkish miners’ union I felt sympathy with at the time. I bought fair trade coffee, organic eggs and Green and Black’s chocolate.

None of these activities has yet to have any major impact on the world (argue all you like) and in the end the smell of bacon tempted me back into the world of the carnivorous, and anyway…. some days you just want a Starbucks. L’Oreal bought The Bodyshop (right on, Anita – I met her once, not a terribly bright woman) Nestle bought Green and Black’s, and now the chances are any single way you try to act as a ‘caring consumer’ you’re putting money in the hands of one evil empire or another. My point is, we’re all hypocrites, even if it’s unwitting.

But some days I read a paper or watch the news and I still ask myself ‘what would I do?’. Would I have invaded Iraq, I hope not. Would I be spending my country’s tax revenues on protecting opium growers in Afghanistan – nope, I’d legalise all drugs, classify them and charge a market rate, but that’s just me. Would I be partnering up with the most dangerous man in history, and by doing so undermining the position of the U.N, and making myself a pariah state and target for terrorism – again, I’d like to think not. Would I have shot a guy in his East London for home for the crime of having a beard? I’ll let you guess the answer to that one.

But those are all hypothetical questions, I’m not the President or the PM, or Chief of Police… so what as an individual can I do? Well, I’m not famous enough for people to pay attention to the random rants of a minor songwriter with a cult (for cult, read smalll, loyal, intelligent, often physically beautiful, with nice hair and a fragrant smelling) audience, so that just leaves my voting rights. But – and here’s a minor controversial point – in much the same way I grew out of God, I’ve grown out of my belief in democracy. There is no longer any principle at the heart of politics, and the prime motivation of every party is election, followed by four years of campaigning for re-election. We all know this. I wrote a song about it once - big whoop. Smart people vote to keep out the BNP – or other fascists - and because our grandparents fought wars so we could, and because Emeline Pankhurst threw herself under a horse. But no one votes in the belief that anything will change. Do they? We have zero choice and zero expectations. The same thing has decided elections since the first man posted the first ballot in the first ballot box: it’s the economy stupid. Offer tax cuts you’ll get in. Pursue a stable economy at the expense of developing nations and the environment, you’ll get in. We all want jobs, homes and widescreen tv’s, Preferably with ‘ambi-light’ (A bulb in it. Ambi-light. Genius.) I know I do. How else will I enjoy Rooney firing home the winner in the world cup final. But I digress.

So, as ethical consumers we’re fucked. The first rule of capitalism is that money will end up in the hands of those who already have it – Nestle, l’Oreal, and even BP – the oh-so-ethical-oil company working hard to develop new eco-energy whilst destroying Alaska drilling for oil. Now that’s old school, BP. Some would call that pissing down my back and telling me it’s raining. Please take the British out of your name – I’m ashamed enough as it is. Beyond Petroleum… my big fat, hairy (actually pert and smooth) butt.

And now as voters we’re fucked. Cameron, Blair/Brown/A.N Other, Menzies Campbell… who would you vote for? Green? Good luck with that. ‘But if enough of us do, Tom, we can change the planet’. ‘What if they held a war and no one turned up maaaan?’ No. Ain’t gonna happen. Once again it’s the economy, stupid. And if they held a war (which they will do every week until the end of time – not actually that far off) the Americans will still turn up to do some ass-whooping, with the trusty British gimp at their side.

Again... I hear my father’s voice…’what would you do?’… well, I won’t be voting again that’s for sure. Please don’t mistake this for cynicism, it’s not. It’s the opposite: it’s hope. I will, in my small, and very ignorable way, remove myself from the process. I will never be involved in a ‘rock-the-vote’ campaign, not that I’d get asked. Bastards. Come the next election I will hold a ‘fuck-the-vote' rally, campaigning to have my refusal to participate in electing the next generation of murderers recognised. I want my spoilt ballot counted. If the rules of the game suck, then you can chose to not play, or you can seek to change the rules. And seeing as not playing is no longer an option, what would you do, Tom? What would you do?

Clearly I had too much fair trade coffee this morning, and read about the shelling of Palestinians in Gaza. My first reaction was to want to have my records withdrawn from sale in Israel. Like anyone would notice. But then not every Israeli fires missiles into beaches, just as not every Palestinian is a terrorist. You never read about the Israeli peace movement – because no one prints those stories. It’s a fucked up situation that knee-jerk reactions won’t help. And where exactly would I sell my records if I didn’t agree with that country’s leaders? (Bless you, Belgium).

‘But you’re a songwriter, Tom, and you shouldn’t be involved in politics’… I have a well worked out riposte to that one: fuck you. I have a right to an opinion, I have a website and I’m reasonably good with words…. I’ll say what the fuck I like, when and to whom. Notice the ‘to whom’. See?

Again ‘what would you do?’ Well, the best I could do was to write this. Artists can agitate as well as soothe, I hope. Also I bought a big book on Israel, a general history of the world, and a high-powered rifle. One of those items was slightly harder to come by in Wood Green. I intend by the end of the week to have solved the problem of the Middle East - on paper at least - I’ll probably do it during half-time tomorrow. I’m not serious about the rifle, but I am serious about not voting. The world is a different, far more dangerous place to that of 1945. Democracy’s strength used to be that it evolved slowly over time, with checks and balances…. slow was good. Well, the planet’s dying – time isn’t running out, it’s already left the building and is right now in a jacuzzi, with Einstein and Darwin (my personal gods) and of course, Nina Simone – she’s there because she has the voice I always wanted, bitch.

So....What would you do?

Next week we’ll be asking the questions ‘Is cranberry juice the fuel of the future? Is Sigur Ros the new Enya? And why are Keane?

So who wants to hear about my new record?

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Commenter cet article

Sylvain 14/11/2007 22:33

N'est-ce pas...

M. 14/11/2007 22:19

Ah Tom McRae ... sa musique est parfaite ...