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MetalBlog by Steff Chirazi

NOW IS THE TIME TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE THAN EVER

METAL BLOG, Vol. 13 - by Steff Chirazi

FRUSTRATION RAGES!!!

I have tried a few times to express my utter embarrassment and anger at how the much-shat-on working class of Great Britain have been completely, and utterly, used by click-bait right-wing arseholes, at how such a vote projects itself across the world as Britain waving its middle finger defiantly at just about everyone east of Dover, but each time I start to articulate the details of Brexit as I view it, I instead turn the volume up and blast some aural salvation.

“I’m an urban animal/Still primitive man/I’m an urban animal/One step from a cannibal” Killing Joke -

It started with the Scorpions Lovedrive album - all of it - a few times over, then it quickly went to Ministry, and right now I’m blasting Killing Joke…could there be a better musical manifestation than Killing Joke of the palpable disgust I feel both for the mass outbreak of ignorance and the mass manipulation of so many? Because make no mistake, there were many who actually BELIEVED that Brexit was a progressive way to give elitists the finger and take back what was taken by Thatcher, Blair and Cameron in the recent decades?  As I fired up “Seeing Red”, as I sneered and snarled along with Jaz Coleman’s brilliant words, I found myself appalled to think that the scared, the poor and the frustrated had been so successfully duped by that filthy charlatan (and embarrassment) Nigel Farage. Incidentally, the first time I actually saw them live was in 1985 at the De Panne Summer Festival in Belgium. They were remarkable given it was still daylight, and I found my young, 17-year-old cub reporter self-hanging out with a whole crew of friendly and very helpful young Belgians, a few French folk and a couple of British people.
Belgium.
Home of the EU.
People hanging out and having a good time, people chatting about hopes and fears within their respective countries, people banding together because of all they had in common.
Like happens at Wacken. Glastonbury. Bloodstock. Download…people laugh, people smile, people head bang, people dance, people get on with each other and right now, that togetherness is really fucking important! …

It’s a constitutional hell
Where they pontificate and yell
Napalm Death - “Constitutional Hell”

Make no mistake, this referendum was never simply about the EU (of course the EU has many problems, but those are better solved arguing across the dinner table rather than saying ‘fuck you’, leaving the restaurant, and jumping up and down outside the window) it became about fear, emptiness and despair (thank you Napalm Death). People rushed to ‘enjoy’ a voice they felt they hadn’t had for years, yet people didn’t invest the necessary time to weigh up all the issues, all the potential answers or even the realities of the situation. This ain’t no instant situation, yet it feels like many thought it would be, that if the Brexit won that suddenly (as in within a couple of hours!) Britain would have everything that Brexiters voted for. They were steered by loud voices and lots of shouting. In effect, Thursday 23rd into Friday 24th of June was complete and utter chaos. And the chaos continues to writhe and churn…it was, and is, tough not to feel dystopian.

Obscured by the sun
Apocalyptic clash
Cities fall in ruin
Why must we die
Obliteration of mankind
Under a pale grey sky
We shall arise…
Sepultura - “Arise”

Of course, whenever dystopia floods the riverbanks, there is always some incredible art and music. I have seen fear, emptiness, despair and chaos birth some of the angriest, most gloriously cathartic and aggressive music you will ever hear. Crass, the Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, there’s a long list of bands who’ve both vented their spleens and accommodated ours.

I find myself hoping upon hope that in the days, weeks and months which follow the Brexit referendum, some violently loud and obnoxiously acerbic music bubbles to the fore amidst a shower of spleen-driven blood. Dystopia can have that effect, but so can any system which oppresses many and scrambles to eat each other whilst subjugating them. Nervecell from the Arab Emirates pour the rage and restrictions of their daily lives into songs which act as both vents and buffers for struggles suffered, whilst the utterly feral, earthy guttural screams of the Afghanistani death metal band Taarma communicate perfectly what those musicians feel, and deal with, on a daily basis. Even in more contemporary moments of historical anger, music has been a vital outlet. Rage Against The Machine, System of A Down, Sepultura, we all know and love their roars of defiance, we’ve all used their music as salve to balm wounds caused by anything from an exchanger with that wanker near the copier to another disgusting drone attack. Sepultura’s blistering “Arise” remains a go-to for me when shit just gets too thick for a moment, and in the days that followed the Brexit referendum results, I found myself playing it off the back of RATM’s “Killing In The Name”.

Iron will
Shit for brains
Born to kill
All are equal
No discrimination
Son of a gun
Simple equation
KMFDM - Son Of A Gun

Wait!!!! Bear with me for a moment and sorry if this all seems chaotic, but I feel chaotic, life feels chaotic… there’s airports being blown up, people being shot, fighting pretty much everywhere, and so much goddam “information” that we’re either over-stuffed with agendas, propaganda and conspiracy theories or we’re high on the cast-iron ‘knowledge’ we saw ‘on the internet’ and TV. People don’t talk nearly as much anymore, they don’t discuss things, they bark at each other or fire off short wanky missives over the internet, keyboard-warriors lining up to tough-guy it across someone else’s digital page whilst sipping a vanilla Frappuccino, but it must stop and we must work hard to stop it!

That’s the way of the world
What you waiting for?
She needs to be loved
Everybody needs somebody
KMFDM - Naïve

See, that’s the thing which hurts most about the Brexit vote. The moment the results became final, the moment Brexit won, I wanted to scream that millions upon millions of British people LOVE socializing, LOVE fun, LOVE music, LOVE international bands, LOVE international festivals and just LOVE the chance to commune and share some stories. I know it in my heart and I’ve seen it for many years worldwide, and now more than ever it is so goddamn important that we all continue to do exactly the same as we always do, that we come together for festivals and shows where we can celebrate unity, where we can be social in the flesh, and where we can experience glorious cultural collisions.

The truth, the lies, all fabrications
Only you control your destination
You, you are what you do
KMFDM - “Sturm & Drang"

I was raised to INCLUDE all who were decent, all who were good people regardless of where they came from and what they stood for; as long as they did not preach hateful or intolerant messages, everyone was (and remains!) welcome in my world. I have been insanely fortunate to enjoy global travel for the better part of 35 years in and around all sorts of wild and wonderful places. Some of these places were once shamefully subjugated by my country, yet I never EVER encountered hostility, only warm welcomes and engaging conversation. I have enjoyed tremendous times in cities such as Bangalore, Tokyo, Hamburg, Mexico City, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janiero, London, the list goes on and on. The uniting factors, always without fail, were good people and music…

I fear nothing, why don’t you know!?
I rip my mind and why don’t you bleed!?
I fear no one, why you turn back!?
I may not stop
Lamb Of God - “Black Label”

We are absolutely at the crossroads in society. Whether people are being fed fear by Brexit campaigners or Islamophobes, whether big business and the war machine is working its divide and conquer strategies via economic subjugation, society is heaving and churning against itself, and there are (in my view) very dangerous agitators for whom chaos and disharmony are desirable. And it is at these times that WE - you, me, WE - must strand strong and make sure that we work harder than ever to unify and share the things we love about life TOGETHER as much as possible. We are what we do. So we must do the right thing.

Jump (Pogo, pogo, pogo, pogo, pogo, pogo, pogo)
Bounce (Pogo, pogo, pogo pogo pogo, pogo, pogo)
Down (Pogo, pogo, pogo)
Up (Pogo, pogo, pogo)
Jump (Pogo), bounce (Pogo), up (Pogo), down (Pogo)
System of a Down - “Bounce”

I happen to run a very important side business as a Doctor and overall (cheap?) psychiatrist, so the following is VERY important for your health in these bizarre times. Music has a vital role, and as such, I think this year’s festivals might be the most important in my living memory. Wacken enters its 28th year of entertaining swathes of people from all around the world who have two common interests, music and having a blast, and this year’s communion of the metal masses is a chance to consolidate and maybe even amplify all that is good about inclusion and togetherness. So make sure you bring all your frustrations, all your anxieties, uncertainties, fears and fraughtness and then spend the entire fucking lot and go - absolutely - MENTAL! Spend it all, leave nothing inside, shed yourself of the build-up of bullshit and know that you will be joining a global community, people from all over the geographic and socio-economic map in throwing down for a great time. 

Hey ho, let’s go! Hey ho, let’s go!
Hey ho, let’s go! Hey ho, let’s go!
They’re forming in a straight line
They’re going through a right wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkreig Bop
Ramones - “Blitzkreig Bop”

Right now, with the world seemingly on a repetitive spin-cycle of bullshit, it is absolutely VITAL that we continue to enjoy both live and recorded music just like we always have, but perhaps with even MORE vigour. NOW is the time to throw MORE parties for friends, NOW is the time to invite MORE people from the neighbourhood to come together and have a good time, and NOW is the time to show both the world and each other that whatever is being said and spun, the majority of Europeans identify as just that. Being Europeans. And that as Europeans, we are happy to share lives and loves together, not hide from each other behind barricades and borders (and, of course, EVERYONE is welcome WHEREVER they’re from). As I said a little earlier, the uniting factors in my life have always been good people and good music. Now, more than ever, those forces need to be united and omnipresent in the face of whatever bullshit this chaos might throw at us. As my dear friend Lemmy Kilmister said to all of us, don’t let the BASTARDS grind you down…

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