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Musicians & tQ Writers On Anti-Fascist Anthems
Luke Turner , October 4th, 2016 08:32

Featuring contributions from Ben Durutti, Penny Rimbaud, Bobby Barry, Jeremy Allen, Ben Myers, Kevin McCaighy, Stewart Smith, Neil Cooper, Matt Evans, Tony F Wilson, Leo Chadburn, Emily Mackay, David Bennun, Phil Harrison, Arnold De Boer, Joel McIver, Russell Cuzner, Jeremy Bolm, John Doran, TV Smith, James Sherry, Jonathan Meades, Tristan Bath, JR Moores, Julian Marszalek, Captain Sensible, Andy Moor, Christine Casey, Nic Bullen and Stewart Lee

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Elvis Costello - ‘Less Than Zero’

If Elvis Costello wanted to set himself apart from his punk contemporaries in 1977, then releasing an agitated first single about Oswald Mosley was a good way of going about it. Set to a wildly catchy hook, the song was more vituperative than it was rational, “more a slandering fantasy than a reasoned argument,” according to Costello himself. The singer was inspired to write it after seeing a documentary on Mosley on the BBC where “the former leader of the British Union of Fascists seemed unrepentant about his poisonous actions of the 1930s.” If criticising the Blackshirts leader was like shooting fish in a barrel, then Costello rose to the occasion with imaginative aplomb, inventing a scenario where Oswald had intercourse with his sister all captured as part of a “home movie”, a proto-sextape scandal in the making. One presumes Mosley never heard the song, though if he’d planned to sue then any litigious action would have been curtailed by his death in 1980.
Jeremy Allen


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