Given the swift disintegration of my faith in humanity and the crumbling of British institutions left, right and centre, why not bring together your nearest and dearest and wail in the face of adversity? With Trump looming in the US wings, and British politicians dropping like flies in a nation now divided and plagued by racial attacks, it’s only natural to try and foresee how people will look back on this moment in the rich tapestry of time. The past few weeks been staggeringly reminiscent of my A-level History lecturer’s favourite mantra and the governing principle of history: “PEOPLE ARE STUPID.”
We’re on the cusp of something, united by complete and utter confusion. Raise your glasses and enjoy this musical venture through the rubble of our once noble Albion, and march into oblivion.
1. Wake Up Alone // Amy Winehouse
The date was June 24th 2016, it was approximately 4am and I’d been pulling an all-nighter following a budget flight back from Copenhagen (thanks, free movement). I watched the sun rise as my National Express coach snaked towards Victoria coach station, penniless and looping this song. Chowing down dry cereal from a plastic bag and wincing at every BBC news update sliding onto my iPhone screen, I clutched my sunburn and gently weeped.
“It’s ok in the day, I’m staying busy / Tied up enough so I don’t have to wonder ‘where is he?’”
Little would I know, the extended metaphor of the UK’s decision to leave the EU would follow suit as members of the Brexit campaign literally did leave! We’ll all laugh about this someday.
2. Dancing On My Own // Robyn
England is falling apart, rebellion is mounting, make way for the Apocalypso. We’re “On [our] Own” now; isolated from our Nordic brothers and sisters. Robyn flails through the storm, the bitter break-up victim. Dancing is a metaphor for trading.
3. Rave On // Buddy Holly
I like this track because it encapsulates a stubbornness that is reminiscent of our fellow countrymen. Rave On, Rave blindly On boys! Stumble calamitously on, pull your socks up and keep going. The Apocalypso may be imminent but Buddy reminds you not to be lonely.
4. Bloody Mother Fucking Arsehole // Martha Wainwright
In times of anarchic despair, sometimes expletives are all you can muster, and that’s ok. A beautiful likening of the Brexit inability to propose ANYTHING AT ALL post-referendum – to a rotten relationship – “It’s smoke and no fire, only desire.”
5. I’m Waiting For My Man // The Velvet Underground
An ode to our Comrade Corbyn; bus riding man of the people, My Man. This is also a nod to the yearning desire I have to see him come into office. This is going to be an exceptionally long three years.
6. TV Broke My Brain // Man Made
What’s the opposite of a ballad? This goes out to Rupert Murdoch and the vitriolic right wing press that marginalise the voices of minorities and those fleeing warzones with poisonous rhetoric, instead choosing to give a platform to racists. Patriotism and Nationalism are not synonymous.
7. Great Balls of Fire // Jerry Lee Lewis
Comic relief if you will. A quirky interlude and time for us to unify as a people and laugh at ‘balls’ before the civil war.
8. Pretty Vacant // Sex Pistols & Do Something // Slaves
This selection was a close tie between the two so I’ve chosen to group them. Who knows, maybe some good will come of this socio-political anarchy and 2016 shall come to be known as The Second 77 in an eruption of nihilistically charged music, a Punk phoenix. It’s all very well moaning about the situation but Pistol protégé’s Slaves preach ACTION.
9. Urine Speaks Louder Than Words // Wingnut Dishwasher’s Union
I want to quote this entire song. Verse by excellent verse. A veritable anthem for broken Britain with a cute acoustic riff shadowed by tongue-in-cheek witticisms of:
“Urine speaks louder than words/on a prison warden/or on a politician/Urine speaks louder than words”
It’s rabble-rousing, but in the manner of a naughty little boy. NB: Play this at my funeral and watch my mother scowl.
10. I Know It’s Over // The Smiths
The Royal Family have abdicated and thousands are rioting outside Buckingham Palace. Katie Hopkins has impaled herself on a gate as a martyr of the Monarchy. The Apocalypse is descending and every man is fighting for himself. “I don’t know where else we can go?” people scream. Famine claims thousands more, many resorting to cannibalism. Morrisey eventually perishes through malnourishment.
11. Perfect Day // Lou Reed
The sweet embrace claims us all, shepherding us into another realm. We’re hanging on for dear life. If only we had loved our fellow man? Maybe Albion would have lived another day. If only we had voted In.
12. Lacrimosa // Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
‘Lacrimosa’, as far as I am aware translates directly from Latin as ‘crying’ or ‘mourning’. It’s one of the most evocative pieces of music, ever, and summons that special tingle you get when you listen to a collective of really powerful voices of feeling both awestruck and inferior. It’s a weary and lamenting voyage into the afterlife.
13. Exit Music (For A Film) // Radiohead
The sun sets and everyone is dead. Thom Yorke is the last remaining resident of the British Isles, he appoints himself Lord and reigns peacefully in a Cornish fishing village, listening to A Moon Shaped Pool on repeat, wagging his finger and telling everyone he told them so.
Words by Elinor Potts