Dem English Blues

Identity crisis

 There’s a problem in England that I don’t feel is suffered as much by those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I know that Scotland may be on the fence at the minute about whether or not they want to be a part of the UK, but deep down they still know that they are Scottish, whatever the outcome. There is something inherent about those three countries that shouts out to them what it is to be a part of their country.

England is having a bit of a struggle though and has been for a while. I think that part of it is probably because we don’t listen to our guts enough. We try to reason everything out to come up with the proper answer to questions and not what we feel. But mainly it’s down to culture. Culture is what defines your identity whether you like it or not. You look at the papers focusing on reality TV stars or far-flung wars, you turn on the TV and see the exploited underclass shouting about how fuckin’ great Britain is or some posh toff celebrating the Queen in some camp outfit. To love England you have to be either a member of the EDL or a brainless monarchy enthusiast it would seem.

There is a culture in between the two however. A culture where the Polish shop around the corner houses inviting mysteries unlike Tesco’s faceless lack of character. New build estates that have now settled in and are lending sugar and arguing like normal. Middle aged men trying to use an app on their phone to count their dart score in the pub. People hanging England flags out of their windows for the world cup from all different ethnicities. This is the England that I’m seeing around me, an evolving identity but still with an identity nonetheless. The teenagers that would walk around in tracksuits now have their top buttons done up and play acoustic guitar but they still burn holes in the bus stop with their lighters. The media only ever likes to show the extremes, but I suppose the rest isn’t really news.

It’s always been the role of art, music and literature to capture these things, but somehow I don’t think that a song that goes ‘take a selfie’ quite cuts it. There are lots of songs that say ‘we like to party’, and us English do, but there’s much more than that. The working class English people need to take their culture back into their own hands, not let Ed Sheeran embarrass himself with his songs of a hard life not lived.

This is where zines and that come in. The new free press. Printed on paper and not lost in the void of numbers and clicks of a mouse. This is where we say what we want, show how it is and do it properly without worry over profit margins or political correctness. Let me have your words and let us have our identity back. We hate the government, but we are one nation and if we could have our identity back, one that we really believe, I think it would make people a lot happier in their daily lives. Fuck Diazepam, we’re English.

England1

Photography: Sophie Pitchford

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