While it’s true that Bryan Ferry’s music has never been overtly political and all this stuff coming out of the fox hunting debate shouldn’t have a bearing on his status as one of greatest singer-songwriters, somehow it has affected my mood. I’ve found myself enjoying simple little pop songs far more and avoiding the deliberately more meaningful.
So last night I got some counselling from a wise old friend and now I’m back listening to Manifesto and less troubled. Once the artist releases a work into the world it takes on a life apart. Intention becomes largely irrelevant as the consumer makes sense and finds meaning, if any. So if I read Manifesto’s title track as a call to revolution and Ferry didn’t mean that, that’s his tough luck. Artists can’t invest their work with one true meaning, because it reflects much within them that they themselves cannot be sure of. We are all part of a society and, often unwittingly, internalise values, prejudices and the stuff everyone knows to be true in a bundle we call common sense. Sometimes the most powerful work is that which exposes our common sense in a way the artist may not have intended.
Anyway, back to Ferry. As a teen in the 1980s I heard this working class miner’s son proclaim his lack of politics in an interview and to be fair, its ex-wife and son that are pushing today’s agenda. I wonder if we’re witnessing a classic confusion; acceptance by the upper classes equals success.
Underage sex & country folk……Fox hunting: parliament’s chance to be relevant……Pro-hunt barbarians at the gates……On animal fashion, morality and suffering……‘Celebrity worship essential’, say scientists (the Bryan Ferry connection)