I was never a fan of Andrew Lloyd Weber. With Tim Rice there was a sharpness about his work, but on his own it lost the appeal for me. I think it was the creepiness of the “Phantom” that turned me off and any interest was finally dashed with the sickly slimy “Cats” that destroyed, for me T.S. Elliots, enchanting collection of poems. I still have the battered copy and can recite many of the poems by heart. It is always a matter of personal taste of course and I know other folk who love what he does. I am also not a wholly committed fan of Van, the man, Morrison but I know many people who love him too and if I had the time and the inclination, I guess I could be converted.
But my admiration and respect for both of these men has grown in my estimation, when I hear how they have broken their self-imposed silence on all things political to challenge the status on the nightmare of lock-down and stand against Coronaphobia. Lloyd Weber has been campaigning passionately to get theatres opened, highlighting the foolishness of the restrictions and Morrison has taken to releasing three songs without mincing his words. You can do that, of course, in a song, and he does.
No more lockdown/No more government overreach/No more fascist bullies/Disturbing our peace/ No more taking of our freedom and our God given rights/pretending it’s for our safety/when it’s really to enslave/ No more lockdown/No more threats/ No more imperial scientists making up crooked facts/ No more lockdown/No more pulling the wool over our eyes/No more celebrities telling us/ Telling us what we are supposed to feel
Granted it doesn’t look like a great lyric but the song isn’t out yet so the maybe the music will carry it.
He, like Lloyd Weber is simply speaking from his own sphere and for live music and theatre. Whether you think that is all that important or in any way a priority is a matter of opinion but they have every right and maybe duty to speak out when few in the “industry” do. In his defence Van Morrison said “I’m not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already. It’s about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.” That doesn’t seem all that controversial, but the Northern Irish Health minister Robin Swann does. He describes Morrison’s intervention as “Dangerous”, instead, he suggests he should concentrate on singing songs about saving lives.
When a politician in government thinks that singing songs about freedom is dangerous, we should be worried. It maybe gives a pointer to where all this is heading.