Friday, 8 July 2011

Oskar asked me to write an article about a comic in which a young man tries to kill Maggie Thatcher , an offer which I could not refuse. So here's the result, published in Issue one of Dragmag, available free in Diesel and Fopp stores nationwide.

"My friend Sinead grew up thinking that Margaret Thatcher ate children. She probably wasn’t alone considering, like George Bush and Tony Blair, Thatcher is a quintessential dartboard figure for millions of people. Such icons are prominent in the aesthetics of popular culture and become lazy means of association for anybody wishing to express that they care. Similarly, I saw a Che Guevara t-shirt in Primark a few weeks ago. If you squinted with one eye and tilted your head slightly to the right, it kind of looked like a picture of Jackie Stallone with “VIVA LA REVOLOUCION” misspelt underneath. Vacuous advertising slogans like “Think Differently” by Apple hijacked the likes of John Lennon and Martin Luther King to become their new MEGAMARTYRS. President Barack Obama managed to send his approval ratings through the roof by assassinating Osama Bin Laden, ‘the most wicked man on earth’ . Heroes push their agendas through Villains, and vice versa. This triggered a wave of National pride within the U.S , and people were encouraged to celebrate and ignore the fact that the armed resistance grows rapidly with every day that the Allies occupy Afghanistan.

The character in “St Swithins Day”, a comic book published in 1998 by Paul Grist and Grant Morrison, is not a public figure. He is depressed, lonely and is hell bent on killing Margaret Thatcher. He is intrigued by the status that killing her will earn him and cant decide whether he should be found with a copy of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ or the complete works of Rimbaud in his jacket pocket. He is 19 and has run away from home to do the deed. He sits in cafes alone and fantasises about ‘staying up late and listening to all of my favourite records’ with the girls he can see from where he is sitting. He wants to change the world. He can only dance to one song – ‘there she goes’ and he does so in the middle of the night in front of Karl Marx’s grave. I guess we can all relate to him, or could have. When the time finally comes for him to top Margaret Thatcher, he creeps up behind her and she whirls round to face him pointing two fingers in the shape of a gun at her head. I guess you could say that he is such an anti hero that he cant even do what he set out to in the first place. It got me wondering about what would happen if every angry teenager and young adult across the country – or at least the one in five that are jobless – silently stalked the politicians who dealt their cards. Or if more young people started rejecting the identities that are so easy to obtain through popular culture and started to organise their own worlds. Privilege doesn’t apply to most of us, yet that’s exactly what we need to get anywhere. If one good thing is to come out of this age of austerity, then it will be angry, direct and creative youths. Disenfranchised with most things that were going on around him, Rimbaud sought another life. The only way this government can get away with the injustice and inequality that they are injecting aimlessly into this society, is under the assumption that we aren’t going to do anything about it , and that they can get away with it. You are quite simply being asked to maintain a high level of etiquette on a table at which you will never get served. So by all means, throw tantrums and pull on the tablecloth. Don’t accept the cards that your dealt, start playing chess. Nothing that you can break is more valuable than your rights, including that of an education regardless of circumstance.

With Thatcher’s health deteriorating and rumours of her imminent passing spreading, it gives those on the left to prove how much they really didn’t like her by celebrating. However this energy should not be wasted on humour. We still live in a system that supports her full state funeral and clearly there is lots of work to be done. Popular enemies distract us from the evils of every day life, and heroes make sure we know that somebody else is doing the hard work.

We seem to live in a time where everything has been done, and therefore made fun of. Postmodernism has chilled our faith in ideologies and consumerism lets us sink into any part of ourselves that we wish to at the touch of a button. Its time to try something new and to REALLY ‘think differently’. I felt something brilliant on the 26th of March on Regent Street. Just over my left ear the glass doors of Santander smashed and fell to the floor in pieces. Everybody cheered and we started running away from the police. All of a sudden I wasn’t running down one of our nations many high streets. I was running on something that was yet to be defined. The earth wasn’t flat any more and it could be anything we wanted. Its up to us to make it that way."

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