Saturday, 3 Jun 2023

‘Try the Beatles in Hamburg!’ Damian Albarn mocked

Following Mr Albarn’s criticism of the impact of Brexit, Twitter user Harry Webb wrote: “Try reading the story of the Quarrymen/Beatles in Hamburg.”

The Quarrymen was a British rock and roll group formed by John Lennon in 1956; the spinoff of the band became the Beatles.

Speaking to Channel 4 about Brexit, Mr Albarn said: “Brexit’s been a disaster for younger musicians because they, pre Brexit you could be a young band and you could kind of go over to Europe and play bottom of the bill in festivals and sort of camp.

“And you know, you wouldn’t be paid hardly anything, but your experience would be life-changing, whether you went on in the future to do bigger and better things, it doesn’t matter, that’s like a solid foundation for the rest of your life.

Mr Albarn added: “That kind of creativity has very much been curtailed for people on this island because it’s expensive now to go over there.

“It’s not straightforward. You have to pay for visas and all that stuff that wasn’t necessary. So it’s a terrible…it’s a travesty.

“Brexit was a travesty and people are waking up to that now, thank goodness. But it was a disaster. Spiritually, economically – just rubbish. Brexit is rubbish.”

This isn’t the first time the co-creator of rock band Gorrilaz has aired his views on Brexit. Speaking to Sky News, he said that Brexit had “made it harder to tour”.

He added that this fed “into the whole narrative about the value of arts and creativity, and that’s been diminished”.

Mr Albarn made his comments as Blur, one of the most popular bands of the 1990s, edge closer to releasing their latest album.

Furthermore, his comments come weeks after a Lords Committee urged an end to Brexit barriers for young people and musicians.

Chair of the European affairs committee Lord Kinnoull said their report was not about a reset moment.

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Lord Kinnoull told the Guardian: “The report is really a laundry list of lots of and lots of small suggestions which you can put in place, that are actually mutually beneficial ideas.

“It is not going to be a snowstorm. It will be a gradual thing because this trust rebuilding must go on.”

One of the main points on the list was enabling musicians and young people to more freely move between the UK and the EU.

Lord Kinnoull said: “It’s not about the Beyonces of this world. They can cope with the rules. It’s for the small bands, for the vast majority of musicians. The travel is not about a huge economic activity.”

The committee’s hope is that the Brexit deal can be renegotiated so that young people and musicians can more freely and cheaply travel to Europe where they can boost their audiences and potentially kickstart their careers.

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