I went to hear Billy Bragg this evening! In Stockholm! And he was awesome.
He started off in 1649, hovered round 69 with Ingrid Bergman, visited the 1930s and the 1980s, and of course spent some time Between the Wars, but brought things very much back to 2014, part concert and part political rally, and making it work.
He didhis homework on Swedish politics too. Gave a shout out to the Feminit Initiative, dedicated Power in the Union to the striking rail workers in the south, and Accident Waiting to Happen to the Sweden Democrats.
Boy, could I sing along to Power in the Union with feeling. Of course I've always been pro-union, cheered on the miners in '84 and so on, but this year's been the first time I've really found out for myself what unions mean. Without the unions, we would very probably still be lumbered with our calamitous ex-Director. That includes the local unions (i.e. us), the national union, and all the generations of unionists before us that won such a degree of clout for organized labour in Sweden, still there in spite of the Neoliberalism that's been advancing here as everywhere else.
For his encore, Billy went back to 1983, and his first album, Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy. The WHOLE DAMNED THING! It's a short album, 7 songs in 16 minutes or so, but damn, that is still some encore!
I said this to myself last time I heard him, but I swear when he sings New England I can hear the ghost of Kirsty McColl singing along with him.