This is London at the moment. Yeah…fuck.

So as you’ve probably heard, some serious shit is going down in London this week. What started as a protest of the fatal shooting of a known gang member in possession of a firearm has turn into three nights of some pretty hardcore rioting. Over 250 people have been arrested, and millions of pounds of damage done, including the razing of Sony’s London warehouse which contained Basick Records international stock and serves as a distribution centre for PIAS, which houses a lot of independent labels’ stock. Artists such as Fucked UpYoung Guns and Frank Turner (more on him later) are reported to be affected, although we can now confirm that those hoping to get Aliases preorders worldwide will NOT be affected (hooray!). Tip of the iceberg, trust me.

Damage aside, there’s a lot of talk about why this is happening; it’s clearly more than one man’s death. Is this the start of serious social and political upheaval in Britain, or is it just a violent bunch of bastard little shits, bored and wanting to loot because the opportunity has presented itself?

I lean heavily towards the latter. I’m more worried by the minute. I actually live in London, and although I’ve not yet seen anything first hand (despite being not far from the initial shooting about five minutes after it happened), it seems to be mostly youths, and they’re posting pictures of themselves stealing really valuable items. Does that really seem like the actions of someone who cares about political change?

It got me thinking about true revolutionary music – songs and artists that have the real spirit of change at heart – not these mindless mungos destroying people’s property and livelihoods.

So to distract me from the prospect of people I know and care about being hurt or their lives destroyed, here’s a rundown of some of the true political greats:

1) Refused – “Liberation Frequency

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQFX6NP8s3E]

Probably one of the most important hardcore punk bands of the last century – and indeed this – Refused advocated social and political upheaval through music, not violence. They believed that you couldn’t do it by the same old methods; you had to make “new noise” in order to be heard.

Their entire album The Shape of Punk To Come is a punk masterpiece, but this seems like the most applicable track.

2) Pg.99 – “Punk Rock in the Wrong Hands

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF5gbRotZRI]

“Being in a punk rock band, being into punk rock, being into hardcore, doesn’t mean jack shit, doesn’t mean diddly squat, doesn’t mean one fucking thing. You have to use your involvement to shock people. You have to get other people who don’t know anything about punk rock. You have to get the butcher at the butcher shop. You have to get the local army recruiting officer. You have to let them know that you think they are shit.”

“Punk rock in the wrong hands” – no shit. Undoubtedly this situation will only serve to make the authorities crack down on legitimate protests. A BBC reporter interviewed a couple of rioting girls, drinking looted wine at 9:30am this morning (classy), who said they were “showing the rich we do what we want…It’s the rich people, with businesses, and the conservatives or whoever it is”. The fuck?

3) Million Dead – “After The Rush Hour“/”Plan B

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhQMYqbLkxA]

Named for a lyric in Refused’s song “The Apollo Programme Was a Hoax”, Million Dead were the very embodiment of poetic British punk. Frontman Frank Turner had an engaging way with words that really speaks of the general malaise of the British middle class. I know that doesn’t sound particularly ‘punk’ but he’s well educated and knows his stuff. Voice is more important than your background, and despite Million Dead’s demise…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90xQsvB688Y]

[Lyrics, as they’re pretty fast-paced]

“Honestly, why the hell are you standing there,
and what the hell are you waiting for?
Your expectant smile is starting to get on my nerves.
So tell me now, if you’re so fucking rationalist,
so ruthlessly atheist, why the fuck are you a positivist? It doesn’t work.
Because honestly, if you ignore the terminology,
mainstream political philosophy grew out of Christian theology.
Despite the claims on the packaging, all the liberals and the communists, all the people making promises, are pigs to a man and their premises are all the same.

Everything is getting worse,
which hardly comes as a surprise
no one guaranteed anything else,
so dry your eyes and pull yourself together,
because things will keep on getting worse.
The guys in white will never win,
and I doubt we’ll ever heal the world.

But we can begin by learning how to deal with
the conflicts that arise between us, instead of pretending they’ll go away.

It’s better to light a candle than to fantasize about a sun.”

4) Frank Turner – “Thatcher Fucked The Kids

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1NyWbhCxZE]

…he’s still doing it. Despite being gone for six years at this point, Frank’s still going strong as a solo artist. One of his early EPs contained this gem, which pretty much sums up the situation at the moment.

Londoners, and anyone else in affected areas; keep safe, yeah?

– CG

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