“In earlier ages, class distinctions had been not only inevitable, but desirable; inequality was the price of civilisation. With the development of machine production however, the case was altered. Even if it was still necessary for human beings to do different kinds of work, it was no longer necessary for them to live at different social or economical levels… From the point of view of the new groups on the point of seizing power, human equality was no longer an ideal to be striven after, but a danger to be averted.” Orwell, 1984
This is not fiction; it’s not even really about music anymore, because this is a reality, not art, there’s nothing beautiful about something so broken. This is our world, and this is our penance, in this, our Invisible Britain, documented in brutal, visual honesty throughout this intrinsically necessary film; illustrating without bias, a systematic continuance of archaic, out-dated, obsolete inanimacy where human suffering is categorized in a hierarchy of importance, and where hereditary class divides often dictate over who lives well and who dies alone without ever having had a chance. This is resolutely written, without sanctimony, or high pretence – The mere fact that possessing the truth about our society, which in most basic of terms is easily discovered, and talking freely about it, is considered to be revolutionary, dangerous even, is beyond all comprehension, in what world should it be so rare to hear unembellished honesty about the state of things? What have we become that the majority of our genus, blessed with such unused, profound ability, have been beleaguered into a conditioned, blinkered middle ground, driven solely by a strange, isolated sense of monetary purpose that equates to little more than fraught, conspicuous consumption, and sheer materiality, plain acquisition? Sleaford Mods undulate and spit, twitch and writhe amongst the gutters, hidden away from this new world where notions of suffering go no further than words on a screen, to be copied and pasted on to a web feed, when it’s proud new advocate suddenly deems it fit to start caring about the world for a few minutes, or at least until big media stop reporting on it, stuck in a cyclical character of societal existence that maintains without real, progressive action… To truly believe that suffering is abhorrent, means that it is abhorrent, regardless of it’s victim. True humanity, true humility, must be universal, or it becomes benign, and profitable, to be exploited, to generate fear and flog disillusioned prejudice.
The band exist in a paradigm where their own people, our people, have been demonised to a near irrevocable level, de-politicised through poverty and enforced austerity, disenfranchised through lies and abandon, and left to rot. So Sleaford Mods, they went exploring, and told its story. They’re self admittedly unintentionally political, and would rather focus on social commentary, telling tales that nobody else will, but can the two really be divided when the manifestos of our leaders are a catalyst for a generation of lower class people, dismembered under Thatcher, and never tended to, being driven to such deeper, starker realms, being deemed fit for work, before dying of starvation? Watch Invisible Britain, and you’ll understand; understand why they need representing as they are, by their own, rather than through a tainted, business funded lens, or government funded press… remember Hillsborough, and take note. This article needs none of the figures and statistics, they’re there, and they’re not hard to find, all you have to do is care enough to look.
The best music doesn’t come from revolution, it comes from apathy, disinterest, treachery, and a lack of prospects; it’s working class, and it’s real. It’s Joy Division; it’s Scargill, its Cooper Clarke, and The Fall, it’s an un-emasculated trade union, a rallying point for decency and pride, and a miner’s wife taking hot tea to a picket. At what point did salt of the earth become scum? Who made that first, lethal generalisation? You can’t idealise, glamorise, and demonize simultaneously, it just doesn’t compute.
Throughout Invisible Britain, Sleaford Mods remain as ever, the two stalwart men, silhouetted against an industrial, draconian dystopia, aware of the disposable nature of electronica, a fitting allusion to the dank inequality they’re squaring up to, as consistently far away from pretence as can be imagined, without a single hint of self-indulgent pity, aware that as a race that we’re flawed creatures, but that we’re also capable of such incredible things, given half a chance. I’ve heard their music be disparaged, and dismissed on it’s minimal, ugly aesthetic, but riddle me this, dear doubter, Why should their music sound good? It’s intentionally bleak, and universally applicable to those who’ve seen the real world, and the real damage being done to it, who told you that music had to be intricate to be important? The Internet was supposed to set us free, and unite us as one, but it’s become subject to our imbibed, spoon-fed lack of genuine ambition. Be a child of the revolution, don’t do what you’re told, take it upon yourself to find out about the world, and don’t believe instinctively; be free to decide for yourself, be a Sleaford Mod.
Tickets for upcoming screenings of ‘Invisible Britain’ are available here.