How much blame should be apportioned to the left for Labour’s catastrophic defeat? Quite a bit according to Luke Griffiths, singer-guitarist of grunge revellers False Heads.
Luke: When Momentum and Corbynites on twitter started abusing people, I just thought, this isn’t going to end well at all. This isn’t what attracted me to left-wing politics when I was a teen. I find the case of Maajid Nawaz extremely interesting, for example. Large portions of the left hate him. Seemingly for criticisms of his religion. So it’s like “yes we’re for minorities”, but if a minority has a different experience or viewpoint, suddenly they don’t count. I saw leftists on twitter calling him an uncle Tom. You bring this strange phenomenon up and somehow you’re the piece of shit.
Do you have any predictions for the future?
Luke: I don’t. I have horrific mental health and was addicted heavily to Valium, which took me 8 months to get off. And I’m sick of that being hijacked by fucking faux twitter self-help morons that tell you jokes, comedians and Halloween costumes are problematic. It’s not based on reality.
Have you heard of the concept of Simulacra? Postmodernist Jean Baudrillard argued that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right. The hyperreal.
Luke: Sounds up my street because that is essentially how I feel. We’ve been living in a copy of reality for very long. I reread 1984, and it is terrifying. Two bits stuck out for me. The proles being free mostly. The left-wing and social media are too obsessed with things that are never going to reach some random geezer in a pub in Dagenham. And the bit where they lose their shit because they feel like they’re supposed to feel that way. You can see that happening every day on social media and also now in reality. People making a point or kicking off or becoming hysterical because they think they have to.
Is there anything positive you think yourself or your band can deliver to stipulate this point of view?
Luke: I hope we can encourage a bit more individual thought on the left and move away from mob culture. The left for me has always delivered the best art, music, film and TV. The right never had it. But the best staff has always been self-mocking, something this weird leftism has lost. I think if we can iron out this sort of dogmatic purity, the left will become a force of nature again.
Perhaps it’s reasonable to point out how art often relies on sensibilities from both factions. It’s not always so clear cut.
Luke: Well, exactly. Look at South Park. The best example of mocking everything and itself. South Park for me is one big theme on hypocrisy, and it’s something we all share and do, and it’s important to remember that. Obama said it best recently: “the world is messy’. He makes a point about what we’re doing isn’t bringing change. And that’s the thing. It clearly isn’t. Because we keep losing. I really do not understand the complete lack of conversation about this. Something is obviously wrong, so why not at least throw some ideas at each other and see if we can have our minds changed or at least provoke some thought on the matter?
Perhaps the issue really is about not having any dialogue which perpetuates one faction having more entitlement to governance than the other? Who is South Park made for and how much hope can it have to change minds if its message appeases one political faction over the other?
Luke: This started a good few years back, and we’re seeing it come to fruition now. And sorry I didn’t wanna politicise South Park too much. Still, I just thought it was an excellent example of an art form that does question and mock everything, including itself. We seem to have lost the art of self-deprecation a little bit as well. I mean we’re all going to die at the end of the day, take a little bit of time to occasionally to take the piss out of yourself as well because life is too short. And strangely South Park taking shots at everyone means that it’s hated and loved by both conservatives and liberals.
Luke: I read an article the other day where a journalist was struggling with the fact she likes Lana Del Rey because of some sexist apologist elements in her music (I’m paraphrasing). Jesus Christ, sometimes if you like something you fucking like something. Something moving you could be more important than the sort of dreary 50s lady type character that Lana Del Rey plays. And also just because that doesn’t fit into what you think women should be singing about doesn’t mean it isn’t valid or most importantly a decent track or album.
Interesting. Do you think that Lana Del Rey is playing a character, and in so doing circumnavigates a few missives from woke culture?
Luke: I think so, yeah. I don’t care that much. Without sounding like an old man, I genuinely think 99 per cent of the charts is hollow and vapid and seems to be all we deserve considering how we act as a species currently. Still, there’s something beautifully nostalgic and miserable shit some of Lana Del Rey’s songs, and it does set her apart from that. Longing for something more so even if it isn’t a character, I don’t know there’s more to her than Shaun fucking Mendez or Lewis Capaldi. And with woke culture? Sorry, how do you mean?
I’d posit that we’ve always had vapidity in pop music. Still, now there’s more available due to the industry’s growth and accessibility. Woke culture may have a few things to say about Del Ray’s portrayal if they haven’t already.
Luke: I’d agree. I would state that the best art leaves you with more questions than answers. And if we start demanding answers from artists, we will end up with more vapid artists. And they won’t bother making anything real for fear of being picked apart like a carcass.
Sounds like the topic for another article. Thanks for your chat about an aspect of the election that is fast becoming a talking point. Hopefully, people will learn to build bridges in time rather than retreating further into their bubbles.
Luke: Thank you, man. Let’s hope.