September 16, 2012


The Outing of a Right-Wing Rocker :The Olympics' opening night star Frank Turner becomes, overnight, a class enemy. (DANIEL J. FLYNN, 9.14.12, American Spectator)

Last week, the Guardian's Michael Hann posted excerpts from old interviews in which Turner opined that "socialism's retarded," decried the Treaty of Lisbon's European Union as "the end of about 800 years of continuous parliamentary history," and suggested that politicians should "concentrate on ways of minimising the impact on ordinary people's lives and allow them to get on with their lives and not be bothered by the state."

If you didn't catch Olde-England-troubadour Turner's so-fitting three-song set at the opening ceremonies of the London Olympic Games, the folk-punk phenomenon is perhaps best thought of as Billy Bragg with Bruce Springsteen's talent. So once critics discovered that their darling shared Bragg's full-throated folk style but not his hard-left politics, their love notes become "Dear Frank" letters. [...]

Turner responded to the national controversy by denying affiliation with any political party or rigid ideology. The London School of Economics graduate humbly noted, "I just think the world works better when people are left alone to do what they want as much as possible."

Patriotism isn't politically correct, particularly among the citizens of the EU superstate. The title of Turner's album, "England Keep My Bones" -- consequently, not "Britain Keep My Bones" or "UK Keep My Bones" -- subtly points to his politics. So does the album, a rollicking ode to the island Turner calls home. Closing with an overtly anti-God number -- not surprising since atheism has replaced the C of E as the national religion -- that may have helped mislead his leftist fans into thinking Turner one of their political cult, the album nevertheless strangely obsesses over sin, redemption, and the life after. And, oh yeah, it's also about William the Conqueror, navigating the labyrinth of drunks on Winchester's Jewry Street, and the pastoral past.

If England didn't have a national anthem, Frank Turner would write a better one. In "Rivers," he sings: "When I die I hope to be/buried out in the English sea/So that all that then remains of me/Will lap against these shores/Until England is no more." In the energetic "One Foot Before the Other," Turner imagines another fate for his corpse, with his ashes dumped into London's reservoir to flow into his thirsty countrymen to ensure continuity, an imprint, eternal life.

Is Turner pondering his mortality or England's?

Posted by at September 16, 2012 8:36 AM

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