Pop stars, they always love the blues, by Alex O’Connell (Arts Editor)<br/> Successful rockers are conservative at heart — but that doesn’t mean the Tories should be signing them up
IT WASN’T awfully surprising when Bob Geldof admitted to hunkering down with David Cameron’s Boyz this week to act as their unpaid adviser on global poverty relief. Although Geldof has denied being a Conservative, most pop stars are Tories at heart — they believe in maintaining the status quo (especially Status Quo, of course), preserving core English values (Snakebite Black, fags, curry) and worry about country v town more than Blur v Oasis. After all, we don’t call them our pop aristocracy for nothing.
This Tory impulse is usually developed as a result of being in one of the most insecure jobs going. The rest of the arts get state subsidies; pop makes do with the odd invite to Chequers (Bono, David Bowie and Pete Townshend have all dined with the PM).
That makes the rock scene the ultimate free market — it’s dog-eat-dog capitalism. Pop stars confront the logic of capital directly, from their euphoric I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bouncing early cheque receipts to the annual tax bill-paying “final tours” of our elder talents. Punk may have changed the status of the safety pin but it didn’t change the meaning of success. As a “star” even the ultimate case studies in political pop, such as the leftie singer-songwriter Tom Robinson, became the source of income for an ever expanding chain of people who needed them. One minute you’re Slipknot and the next you’ve got staff, a country house in Sussex, a foxhunting son called Otis — and, boom, you’ve turned into Bryan Ferry.
Interesting, no? Well wait till he gets to the examples! The Roger Waters thing was in reference to this, btw.