It’s been a funny old week, as the saying almost goes. Last Friday I was visiting the UK, and spent a very enjoyable hour or two sipping ice cold lager in the roof garden of a pub in Wimbledon. 3 days later I was watching the city I called home for most of the last decade burning as hundreds of rioters decided that the only thing that would kill the boredom of an August weekend was to break into JD Sports and then set fire to Croydon.
There has been so much said on the riots that broke out in London and around England, much of it rubbish, much of it total sense, more eloquently put than I could ever hope to, that there seems little point me adding to it. After all, when a man who is meant to be helping British business has to come back from a holiday in Tuscany because mobs of disaffected youths are doing the sort of things that he used to do in the Bullingdon Club (but with added HD TVs), one can do little more than dig up and recycle Tom Lehrer’s quote about satire being obsolete (though at least no-one has given Cameron a Nobel Prize).
That said, there are some golden linings behind all of these clouds of smoke. There’s the wonderfully uplifting stories of how people, connected by the web, are giving something back to communities and individuals, including the story of the music fans who have mobilised to try to help the independent record labels who face ruin after three idiots set fire to Sony’s distribution warehouse. LabelLove is hoping to raise funds to allow labels that have had their entire physical stock destroyed to stay afloat. But whilst I won’t be able to make the gig they’re organising, I decided to do my bit by buying something from one of the labels affected; in my case, Brownswood, a label very close to my heart.
One of the things I bought was Worldwide Family, a fantastic compilation which includes the amazing cover version that this post is, in theory, about. Whilst it may seem strange to write about a song entitled Good Life after a week like the week we’ve had, it’s actually beautifully apt.
- It’ s a cover of a song by a band called Inner City.
- It’s the sound of what’s best about modern urban life – real music fans reinterpreting a modern classic with traditional instruments
- It’s a cover, and good cover versions always cheer me up
- Is that not enough?
Seriously though, this was one of the weirdest weeks I can remember, and I wasn’t even in London, though I’m guessing that the new tenant in my flat could probably see the smoke from Croydon. But despite the fact that there was so much mindless (and I’m sorry, but it was mindless) violence and destruction, the sound of Brassroots covering Inner City’s Good Life, and the fact that buying it may have brought some respite to a record label built on love and devotion, makes me think that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it might not be an oncoming train.
And in case the Brassroots cover of Good Life is a bit too far from the original for you, how about I leave you with another amazing cover of the same track, this one by Kaori and a little bit closer to the original, but still wonderfully different, just like the people that make London the great city it (still) is.
Image courtesy of (the excellent) Riot Cleanup