Sunshine On Keith

BY BEN PENSANT

There isn’t much we can predict with absolute certainty in 2019. In the old days, if your best mate told you his new girlfriend was a Tory you could deduce with confidence that she’d be white and wealthy with a penchant for throwing stones at disableds. But the modern world is so arse-about-face, the dumb public so susceptible to fascist gaslighting, that even this is no longer a safe bet. Because if there’s one thing social media has taught us, it’s that these days evil right-wingers come in all different shapes and sizes. (I saw a black conservative the other day, and I gather you can even get gay ones now. Shameful.)

Still, one thing that remains depressingly easy to forecast is the way our biased media will always get the big stories horrendously wrong. And there was no better example of this than the recent gushing tributes which poured in following the death of Britpop legend Keith Prodigy. Indeed, almost two weeks since he died, and the press are still refusing to speak the truth about his tragic passing.

So while all manner of drug-addled hacks were praising Keith for his fetching eyeliner, punk rock attitude, and dedication to arson, few bothered to laud the wacky frontman for his greatest contribution. Because where other public figures double down or issue insincere apologies when found guilty of historical wrongdoing, Prodigy is one of the few celebs with the grit to hold his hands up and admit his indiscretion. Indeed, he may go down in history as the last ’80s rocker with the moral fibre to atone for releasing a misogynist single by hanging himself.

Keith deserves credit for refusing to let the passage of time dilute the pain he caused in 1995 when his band The Chemical Brothers released their ultra-problematic love-letter to domestic abuse Smack That B**** Up. Indeed, as if this disturbing track wasn’t offensive enough – from its rowdy celebration of wife battery to its sinister demands to ‘come play my game!’ – its X-rated video only compounded Keith and co’s shame, offending lesbians everywhere by depicting them as hedonistic brats who enjoy taking drugs and having sex in toilets, as opposed to bookish librarians who enjoy making cushions and wearing Plimsolls.

As usual, the courageous bedsit militants who control the Labour Party were wise to the danger of this revolting record, with St Jezza, Lady Di, Brother McDonald and Lord Barry Gardener famously sticking their necks on the line and trying their damnedest to ban billboards from advertising the single. (I urge younger Corbynites to read up on the principled stand the quartet took against a poster they didn’t like and a song they hadn’t heard). With politicians flip-flopping every other day it’s deeply impressive that they are every bit as censorious now as they were then: The Dear Leader remains forthright in his universal opposition to violence; Abbott maintains her zero tolerance approach to toxic masculinity; Chancellor John still gets half a lob-on at the thought of the state telling people what’s good for them. And Gardener is perhaps the most impressive, having been doggedly consistent in both his politics and his dress sense. Indeed, it’s remarkable that two decades later Baz still looks and sounds like the lead in a contemporary version of Richard III set in the cut-throat world of high-end gents’ tailoring.

All of which makes Keith’s decisive act of hare krishna even more commendable: he sensed with a Labour government imminent his days were numbered and hit the snooze button accordingly. That he spared the Momentum Secret Police the messy trouble of arresting him by erasing himself with the minimum of fuss only makes his selfless act all the more beautiful. Because as every Kool-Aid Corbynite knows, when Labour eventually seize power, they’ll be too busy fighting fascism and bankrupting the economy to hunt down and execute spiky-haired pop stars. (Though we may make an exception for Keith’s bandmate Liam Gallagher, who not only laid his Islamophobia bare when he smeared jihadists as ‘goons’, but also attacked Jeremy Corbyn, laughably calling him a ‘communist’ as if that was a bad thing. We’re coming for you, sunsheeeiiine.)

No doubt the freeze peach fuckwits will rush to defend Smack That B**** Up on the grounds of ‘free expression’ – urgh! – before bastardising the iconic words of Owen Jones and claiming, ‘nobody was ever killed by a Keith!’. Yeah, right. They clearly have no comprehension of the pain the grotesquely sexist video caused oppressed ’90s feminists who were literally forced to watch it, many of whom strangled themselves to death with their own armpit hair before the first chorus.

Needless to say, the MSM deliberately ignored the real reason Prodigy took his own life, instead focusing on his mental state and the fact that his wife had recently dumped him, the same excuse they use every time a privileged male who’s neither brown nor Islamic opens fire on a building full of people.

Still, at least we know the truth. And in topping himself Keith joined a tiny but illustrious group of British rock legends who pulled their bootstraps up and made up for traumatising liberals everywhere by saying ‘sorry!’ in the most final manner. Who could forget Manic Street Porters frontman Nicky Wire, who went from zero to hero in less than a year after he mocked and offended IRA terrorists everywhere by wearing a balaclava on Top of The Pops? Sure, disappearing off the face of the earth is not quite as impressive as doing yourself in but it was a bold effort nonetheless, and despite his body never being found I can’t have been the only principled leftist who punched the air for joy when the troubled singer was declared officially dead in 2006. Well played, Nicky!

If only politicians could take some inspiration from Wire and Keith. If Berny Sanders is serious about appealing to the intersectional left he could do worse than apologise for using the word ‘niggardly’ 33 years ago by selecting a rifle from his huge arsenal of firearms and shooting himself in the face. Sure, we’ll miss his pie-in-the-sky socialism, quaint grasp of economics, and self-aware complaints about too few people having too much wealth, tweeted from the modest confines of his third mansion. But as he himself said ‘when you’re white, you don’t know poverty’. And when you’re dead you don’t know anything which is even better.

His demise would also shine much-needed light on the long overdue discussion on how to deal with non-racist words that sound a bit like racist ones. Banning them is obviously the most logical step going forward but the end goal would be the eventual removal of these words from pop culture entirely. Only last week I watched Bridget Jones’ Tea Party and winced every time she mentioned her ‘genuinely tiny knickers’, horrified that she used a word so potentially offensive when she could have easily said ‘twat hammocks’ or ‘gammon catchers’.

And with Brexit becoming even more of a disaster with every passing day it’s high time everyone who either campaigned or voted for it did the decent thing and slashed their own throats with scissors. They’d still be evil right-wing xenophobes with shit for brains but at least they’d be evil right-wing xenophobes with shit for brains who did one honourable thing in their wretched lives. Until then we can only hope more Keith Prodigies come out of the woodwork and into the ground, taking one for the team in the name of liberal values.

Failing that we can always dig Michael Jackson up and kill him again.

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