Sour times

Posted by Ian

On Adam and Joe’s superb 6 Music show the other week, the pair observed slyly just how well-timed is the release of Portishead’s new album.

It’s the group’s first LP for 11 years – the first since their Britpop-buoyed emergence in the mid-90s when no discerning CD collection was without a copy of ‘Dummy’ and its ubiquitous single ‘Sour Times’. It’s also arrived, as Adam and Joe noted, in an atmosphere of economic kerfuffle and financial unease…just like the mid-90s, in fact, when the UK was groping its way through a currency crisis and all-round doom and gloom.

Portishead: The Recession-Friendly Band! They’ve consulted the stock markets and concluded that, yup, now is the time for another long-player of eerie bleeps and whispered high-pitched trilling.

Trouble is, Portishead are also a totem of, how can I put this, Tory Britain. They arrived in the midst and mayhem of John Major’s administration…and now they’re back, just as the papers are full of how the Conservatives are also back and set to ‘trounce’ Labour at the next general election. Ulp.

In the wake of the local elections several of us in the office remarked on how weird – and unsettling – it was to hear news reports on the TV chanting ‘the Tories have gained’ this and ‘the Tories have taken’ that. It took us right back to our childhoods, and in particular the 1980s.

Has everyone forgotten just what that decade was like? The best of times for some; sour times for others.

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40 Responses to Sour times

  1. Rory the Kingfisher says:

    This is a joke isn\’t it? I mean, it\’s obviously a joke but is it a joke about a joke?
     
    no-one can be this politically and humourously redundant can they?

  2. Vincent says:

    everyone knows the best music comes out of times of economic/social unrest, starting with the original rhythm and blues from slaves in U.S. (not the r\’n\’b we know today).
     
    unfortunately we have been relatively well off in this country recently, so where as 10 years ago young men would sing about struggle now they sing about wearing the wrong trainers to the disco. having said that some "UK grime" (whatever its called) still has something to say.  its the same all over as far as i can tell.  even worse; hip hop celebrates wealth, and more disturbingly greed, in lieu of a once ferocious political agenda.
     
    I wonder if perhaps music with gravitas has continued to be made but swept under the rug while we\’ve been force fed sugar. yum yum.

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  4. Bob says:

    Vincent……: It was really the blues that came out of the slavery trade, rhythm and blues was bit later on…. not really wanting to split hairs with ya.
     
    anyway, politics. they are all a bunch of liars and tell us what we want to hear and to compare the 90\’s with today-well, there\’s no difference is there and it\’s been the same across all of time.
    music. how can we say that there\’s any coincidence? there\’s always connections with music and politics (\’screaming lord such in the beginning\’) and always will be. thats where the angry feelings and thoughts are broadcast to the nation as a whole. i don\’t watch the news but virtually everyone listens to the radio so messages get across the the masses and hopefully plant some seeds of change. 

  5. Steff says:

    Sour times … compared to now?!
     
    Fuel is higher than ever before, education is going downhill and the NHS is in dire straights, with money being thrown at management as opposed to the wards. 
    My mother SAVES LIVES, and lives below the poverty line. Everything we buy is taxed to the eyeballs … and even more so since Brown came into "power". 
    THAT Ian, is dire. Stop being so ignorant.
     
    I\’ll be voting the Tories in, suffice to say.

  6. Barry says:

    So the answer to the current economic problem is to vote for the party who the current government have copied the policies of? A party who is historically and traditionally aimed at ripping off the working classes and the poor?
    Your mother will be saving lives for free under the tories and in 10-15 years pages like this will have forgotten the current situation and be calling for Labour and the cycle will continue.

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