Numb-Nuts Celebrity Brexit Intervention of the Week: a Remainer Oratorio

Nitin Sawhney has written "Brexit – A Rational Anthem for a National Tantrum", a musical state of the nation for people who don't know what state the nation is in.

01 March 2019, 11:47am

Nitin Sawhney in July of 2015. Photo: Film Free Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

What is it? It’s an oratorio.
Okay, I’ll bite. What’s an oratorio? Classical music… isn’t it, like, singing? It’s something you… hang on. Let’s look this up. Right. "A large musical composition for orchestra, choir, and soloists." So it’s an opera, kinda. It’s like a crap opera.
Do they have a book out? No. But Nitin did do an album of "pained but pretty melodies over electro-chill loops" late last year.
Has The indy100 Already Done A Thing On It? Not yet.
Is It More Amazing Than That Express Story About A Time Traveller From 2030 Who Has Come Back To Warn Us About Brexit? Uh uh.

Nitin Sawhney has an Ivor Novello lifetime achievement award, and they definitely don’t give those out with your Caffe Nero loyalty card. He has a CBE too. He also has a Fabric Live compilation. And it’s FABRICLIVE.15.

In short, he’s the kind of guy you should know about, more than the guy you would, operating in that worthy interzone between Brian Eno and Gilles Peterson where they keep all the Arts Council funding.

So it’s no surprise that he has bankrolled his latest big project via sponsorship rather than sales. And given the luvvie pedigree that goes with the space between Eno and Peterson, it’s perhaps not entirely surprising that it’s called "Brexit – A Rational Anthem for a National Tantrum".

Not entirely surprising, but slightly. I mean, just how many Remainiac podcasts do you have to be snorting – how many editions of The New European must you be rectally-shelving – before you start to think, 'Yes, this sums up the national mood. Pointy-heads versus dumbot pants-crappers – that’s where we are right now – and do you know, I think my new oratorio will finally put those dunderheads straight?'

At least fellow Ivor Novello lifetime achievement winner Damon Albarn kept things vague with his anti-Brexit The Good, The Bad & The Queen album late last year. Is it keeping things vague when you rhyme "hope and glory" with "hopeful Tories"? And then rhyme that with "anti-migrant stories"? When you lay a bunch of pre-recorded audio interviews, all with Remainers, over the "second movement" (inexplicably featuring Deborah Meaden), and make your final line – your killer payoff – "Farage and Nadine Dorries"?

Isn't it as subtle as a cock to the colon when you bring on Andy Serkis as Theresa May at the end of your show to do a sort of DVD bonus feature – called Brexonian Tragedy, a rewrite of "Bohemian Rhapsody"? And what about the bit where Serkis gives a half-suppressed Nazi salute at the mention of immigration? Is that actual comedy… or is it just the polymer-resin comedy-resembling substance they pour into The Mash Report?

I’d love to say "your tax dollars paid for this filth", but it’s not quite so simple. Sky Arts have created something called Arts 50: to make 50 pieces of content about British national identity. On paper, it’s a worthy scheme, but there doesn’t seem to have been any urgent sense the artists should take that identity back to the people.

The show was performed at the Barbican, right up the brown eye of the Metropolitan Liberal Death Star. I say: take it down the Three Legs pub in Leeds and show this "state of the nation" to the nation.

CBE? He could get a Victoria Cross for that kind of bravery.

Has The Intervention Of A Celebrity With Something On Their Mind Decisively Changed The Game On Brexit Forever? I’m sorry but we’re still waiting.