Monday, April 08, 2013

While Thatcher Mauled Britain

Robyn Hitchcock's I Wanna Go Backwards 
Robyn Hitchcock's Box Set I Want to Go Backwards If you're not familiar with Robyn Hitchcock, today's death of Margaret Thatcher is a good reason to get familiar. Hitchcock's album While Thatcher Mauled Britain, included in the remastered box set I Wanna Go Backwards, is a haunting collection of typically Hitchcockian weirdness--banging his brilliant head against the hard reality of Thatcherian despair:
Hitchcock explains that these records were inspired by the despairing state of Britain at the time they were written and recorded. Aside from elucidating the frequent appearance of colonial themes (see Eye opener "Cynthia Mask" and I Often Dream of Trains' "This Could Be the Day"), this also speaks to the oddly intrusive quality of the darker elements in Hitchcock's work. While these albums take place largely in the plane of the imagination, the integrity of this world is always being undermined by an invisible dialogue with an increasingly sad and decrepit reality.
Like her wrecking crew partner Reagan in the US, Thatcher installed a junta of elite supply-siders who spent the next three decades systematically redistributing wealth and income upwards. Their policies live on, continuing to rob the middle class of wage increases associated with productivity, which had been the norm up until the Reagan/Thatcher era.

When I listen to these albums, I get a sense of the era that's eerily more human than my philosophical, economic, or political thoughts are capable of giving me. The disjointed, schizophrenic, chilling tones and effects, combined with hypnotic lyrics that jolt the neurons into contemplation, paint a picture of the time of the Great Mauling that no history book or obituary ever could.

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