Tuesday 15 January 2008

Take That, capitalist Establishment!

I am really glad to hear that the EMI workers, 2000 of whom are facing redundancy (BBC News: EMI set to cut up to 2,000 jobs), have an unusual yet potentially powerful ally.

Robbie Williams, who started his career with boy band Take That, is "on strike" - with-holding his next album in protest at the dispicable way in which EMI are treating their workers (BBC News: Robbie Williams 'goes on strike')

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by this development. I didn't have a lot of time for Robbie Williams, following the controversy a couple of years ago concerning his "Rudebox" record; the line about "special olympics" pi$$ed off a number of disability rights supporters, myself included.

But now, he seems to have found his conscience, and is siding with the workers - without whom there would be no CDs, from Robbie or any other EMI artist!

It is easy to pooh-pooh successful recording artists, who (like Robbie) do have high incomes. Yet it must also be remembered that pop stars' careers (like those of sports stars and actors) are often short, and - due to their high level of specialisation - work following their artistic careers is often hard to come by. So their income during their period of success has to last them for the rest of their lives. This makes pop stars more a part of the working class, than many (either pop stars or traditional workers) would think! On that note, I'd also like to give my backing to the Hollywood Script-writers' strike in the USA.

Indeed, a number of pop stars have had left-wing political leanings. There's the obvious, music rebels such as Rage Against The Machine. But there's also others who started within the pop music mainstream; eg George Michael, known for his anti-war stance, started with the 1980's boy band Wham!

It's been suggested that, as part of his strike, Robbie could put his next album online for free download. Nice idea! If you're reading this, Robbie, how about your next album featuring a cover version of The Internationale, or The Red Flag :-)

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