Contributed by Jonny Collins
It’s that time of the month again! It’s the time of the month where I give all Blizzard Comedy fans homework in the way of a playlist of songs to get everyone in the mood for our next livestream!
One of the core parts of any Blizzard Comedy night (‘cause it clearly isn’t the comedy talent, waaaaaaay) is the pre-show and interval playlists. At home I have a master playlist of approved Blizzard songs (about 350 at the last count, and constantly growing). Yet in an attempt to prevent our audience from being overwhelmed by pure musical genius and occasionally some Limp Bizkit – I curate smaller playlists that fit a particular theme in line with the social-political climate at the time.
This month’s theme is a bit vaguer than last month’s. Once again a lot of shit is happening, but I wanted to get a slightly broader theme that encapsulated one of the most important parts of any society: “Mutual Aid” with a subtitle of “We are the Many”.
If the Tory government has proven anything this month, it is that they have no regard for human life. Certainly not poor human life in any rate. During a time where COVID death rates were only just starting to drop due to lockdown measures, and independent businesses and artists really needed them, the Tories spat in all of our faces.
Pubs being forced to re-open with social distancing measures leading to a best-case scenario of bankruptcy, or a worst case of COVID spreading hot spots. Independent venues closing due to lack of government support. Health workers they branded as heroes being forced to pay parking charges in order to continue doing their essential work.
The Tories have once again cemented their vision of placing a strong economy over saving human lives from avoidable deaths.
It is in times like these more than ever that communities need to pick up the slack the government and councils are leaving. Mutual Aid to me is about helping others where you can – using whatever privilege you have to protect others, disregarding money and financial status and just helping people who need it as much as you can. You’ll all see those heart-warming news stories of a local community banding together to bring about change and tackle problems on a local level. This can work on a larger scale if we all chip in and support one another. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we realize that the Tory government is a relic of the past which hinders society’s progress for the sake of arbitrary tokens of wealth and importance.
Sure, maybe it’s a distant fantasy – but it’s a comfort – and even if we only manage to help one person out of a tight spot – that’s still a huge difference made in that person’s life. Even if a socialist utopia seems unobtainable, why shouldn’t we work towards it to make things better for as many people as possible?
So, with that in mind – here’s my playlist that I feel encapsulates the concepts of mutual aid and unity and a drive against corporate fascism:
“People can no longer cover their eyes
If this disturbs you then walk away!
You will remember the night
You were struck by the sight of
Ten thousand fists in the air!”
Disturbed are one of those bands who emerged alongside the divisive Nu Metal scene, being slightly embarrassing to enjoy in the early 2000s, forgotten about by the early 2010s, yet in 2020 something of a staple of classic Hard Rock.
Honestly – give it another 30 years and Dads all around the world will be going “People don’t listen to real music anymore” whilst blasting Down With The Sickness. The equivalent of YouTube will be full of 12 year olds going “I was born in the wrong generation, take me back to 2003 and see me moshing with Disturbed, Mudvayne and Drowning Pool – BACK WHEN BANDS WERE GOOD!1!!!!!!!1” And David Draiman will be tweeting about how kids these days just don’t know how to “OOW AH AH AH AH” like they used to.
I digress. This song is actually off one of their more forgettable albums imo – but is a perfect song to get pumped and start a protest to. This is fundamentally an anti-Bush anthem, full of themes of standing up to evil and fighting back. Bit of a stretch with my theme of unity – but the title alone conjures images of a large crowd in unison fighting for the same cause. That just fills me with hope, and we’ve been seeing a lot of it lately, albeit social distanced where possible. I couldn’t think of a better way to start this playlist.
“The 1% are selfish cunts”
This was recommended to me by Kirstie – and this fucking slaps. I couldn’t find comprehensive lyrics anywhere – but “The 1% are selfish cunts” is basically all you need to establish why this song is on a list about helping each other despite a rich elite and government who don’t care about you.
“We are the many and they are the few.”
This is a song that appears on most Blizzard playlists. It’s almost our theme song at this point – the repeated refrain at the end is just perfect (which actually debuted 5 years prior to the 2017 Labour manifesto… I’m not saying Corbyn is a fan of Faintest Idea – but tell me you can’t imagine him skanking the shit out to this song.)
“I need to fuck the system
We all need to fuck the system!”
Another regular at Blizzard nights. I feel like this one mostly speaks for itself – but I particularly enjoy how Serj sometimes cuts the word system in half to say “I need to fuck the Sys”, which makes it sound like “cis” so it’s canon that Serj says trans rights now.
(I’ve not looked into it; I don’t want to be heartbroken – don’t Google it.)
“Well I’ve learned from my mistakes
This time I will escape
I’m too young to die”
This is just a cool skate punk song that I’ve bastardized the meaning of for my own agenda tbh. I don’t know what the actual meaning of this song is – but it fills me with motivation to carry on fighting the battles that are needed.
I particularly like “Well I’ve learned from my mistakes, this time I will escape” as to me that very much represents the wanky rational atheist sceptic that I almost became who shits on feminism and refuses to accommodate other people into my worldview. I’ve grown a lot over the last say 5 years or so – and I’m extremely glad I escaped being that person.
“Strength in numbers!
Unify or it’s do or die”
This was on the last playlist too. I know that’s not imaginative of me – but Prophets of Rage are all around the perfect band for Blizzard playlists – and it just so happens as well as being anti-cop, this song also fully encapsulates the idea of unity and fighting together as intersectionally as possible (is that a word? Idk). The point is that as individual groups we may be small – but if all the oppressed groups fought together – the elite wouldn’t stand a fucking chance.
Also I really like how the guitar sounds like a chicken in this song – properly baiting the cops and 1% dickheads. Such a simple riff yet so good on so many layers.
“The struggle’s hard and the struggle’s long
Lean on me and I will pull you through”
I’m not 100% on the name of the band – it’s potentially incredibly problematic – but this song itself and indeed most of what the band stood for and sung about is very suited to our beliefs. This is a nice upbeat and inspiring song about mutual aid – showing willingness to help others and really cements that sense of community that is essential for our survival. I can’t remember who recommended this song – but it’s a good one, thank you!
“The only framework capitalism can thrive in is dystopia
Fuck all the fakers acting like they’re interested in hearing us
When we yell, “Hold accountable the architects of hopelessness and never ending violence”
They’ll be like, “Whatever, idiot” and fuel their brand of power
Incorruptible like it exists
Saintly fronts in a system that rewards only the greediest
The only endgame for capitalism is dystopia
And we know all about it but we just don’t know what to do”
I hadn’t heard of Jeff Rosenstock before I found this gem – proper old school sounding protest music this, and perfectly executed. Nice blend of soft rock and punk that compliments the angry and purposeful message and lyrics perfectly. There aren’t many artists who can say so much so clearly in such a purposeful way, but Jeff is definitely up there.
Bodies piled high
How can you sleep at night”
Black Stone Cherry are a band I’ve always been vaguely aware of, but never really got into. This song is pretty catchy though, and particularly the line above illustrates the theme I was going for with this playlist wonderfully. Profiting off of, or even at the expense of human life is some of the lowest behaviour a human can sink to. Both the UK and America have shown their colours in this pandemic – we know what they are loyal to – and it is not the people of their countries.
“They represent the interests of the few,
A privileged world view,
Austerity to fix a deficit made by the rich but at what cost?
Why must we pay for what they’ve lost?”
The Human Project along with Faintest Idea have been staples of Blizzard Comedy playlists ever since I first saw them at the Manchester Punk Festival in 2019. You can’t get a much better fuck the 1% song than this (except for maybe Knife Club’s brief but scathing attack on them).
“If you think I’d back down
Or accept defeat
Brace for the aftershock
Take it to the limit
Take it to the streets
Give it everything you’ve got”
Yeah there’s a lot of Dad rock this time, sorry about that. This song is fairly vague about what specifically the revolution they want is – but that means it’s fairly easily applicable to our cause. The riff and general tone of this song, like many others on this list can keep you motivated and give you that push you need to keep fighting.
“And tonight, when I dream it will be
That the junkies spent all the drug money on
Community gardens and collective housing
And the punk kids who moved in the ghetto
Have started meeting their neighbours besides the angry ones
With the yards, that their friends and their dogs have been puking and shitting on
And the anarchists have started
Filling potholes, collecting garbage
To prove we don’t need governments to do these things”
Try not crying to this song, I dare you. This song is specifically about early anarchism and mutualism, so a perfect fit for this playlist. The fantasy of living in a world where all sorts of people are helping the community and welfare of everyone is incredibly endearing. And maybe it is unrealistic to expect this – but working towards it can only improve things. Even if we don’t achieve this anarchist mutualist utopia – the ideas it expresses should be ideas that inspire us to chase them.
Even if we miss – there’s a good chance we can make some improvements.
“What can’t we face if we’re together.
What’s in this place that we can’t weather?
There’s nothing we can’t face
Except for bunnies.”
I put this one here ‘cause I wanted to okay? Stop questioning me. Next.
Seriously though, despite some pretty outdated language in one verse – this song is an exceptional embodiment of unity and fighting alongside friends to achieve a common goal, so go fuck yourselves, it’s staying in.
“Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The red flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don’t need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday”
Billy Talent are a band who I always kind of liked, but over the last 2-3 years really fucking got into.
This song is a bit of a deviation from the core theme – this is more an anger anthem about the state of the world that the younger generations have been left with to fix. Because ultimately they’re the ones who are going to pay for the ‘mistakes’ of the Tory Government today. It’s gonna be down to them to fix it – Boris will be dead, Trump will be dead, all current world leaders will be irrelevant, but will leave damage that we will have to mend.
The more we fight now, and the further we can stop things from straying the wrong way – the easier job the next generations will have, and so on.
“I have the information
(that) keeps you from knowing me
I abuse you, as you watch me
And you always vote me in
The poorer you are the better
That gives me more control
C’os I am the brute that hates you
(and I’m) loving it to the bone”
I will put Skunk Anansie on any playlist I can fit them in on. Honestly one of my favourite sounding bands of all time – I don’t know of anyone who’s managed to emulate them to this day.
This song is all about how politicians thrive off of political apathy. It’s easy to feel demotivated and apathetic towards events when they seem hopeless and the odds always stacked against you. But your apathy only serves them more power. Fighting is exhausting, but we need to keep it up and remember that they already get away with a lot when publicly opposed – yet if nobody opposed them, imagine what more they could get away with. Opposition can make changes, the government has been averaging 1 U-Turn per month since we’ve been live streaming, all of which were helped along by public outcry and noise.
Don’t be apathetic – take time out for your mental health of course, but never be apathetic.
“Don’t be fooled into thinking
That a small group of friends
Cannot change the world”
I am astounded at how many people don’t realize just how ruthlessly political Enter Shikari are. I’m guilty of it too – they have really catchy and dancey songs, and the one hit in the late 2000s so people just dismiss them. But damn they’re fucking good, and they wear their views aggressively on their sleeves.
I include Enter Shikari on most of my playlists too – but I don’t think I’ve used this song before. This is just such a nice feel good protest song – which I’m trying to lean more towards this time, as I really want to focus on hope where we can find it as a motivator – with a healthy amount of anger to keep us focused on the issues too.
The quoted lyrics above are kind of child-like, but really sweet and motivating. Changes start on a small level – most movements do not start as a whole community; they often start with an idea and a comparatively small group of people. This can spread and have genuine impacts on society on a micro and macro level.
We all have the capabilities of having a positive impact on the world and can instigate change. It is attainable, so let’s keep pushing for it.
“I am the authority on who deserves what
To continue your prosperity, you’ve gotta pay a little cut
We’ll be ruthless and cutthroat and get what we deserve
We’ll remove each tooth from each swollen mouth and finger at the nerve.”
Did you know Capitalism is evil? Well it is. Moving on.
“Are you lost in your lies?
Do you tell yourself I don’t realize
Your crusade’s a disguise
Replaced freedom with fear, you trade money for lives”
On Minutes to Midnight, Linkin Park definitely began exploring their political side a little bit more – and damn it’s great.
Linkin Park are particularly good at writing fairly lyrically simplistic yet hard hitting music – and this entirely works with a more political punk sensibility that isn’t often associated with Linkin Park (especially those who lost interest after Meteora).
This is a song that’s simply about being fed up with corruption. 13 years old now, yet just as relevant if not more so than ever.
“Get up! Get up!
Your voices are needed
Become, become the pulse of the revolution
In the ranks of the masses risin’”
Another Blizzard regular that could theoretically be our theme song. “Get up, your voices are needed” is so in line with our aims as a comedy night it’s kind of ridiculous. Here’s a platform, speak out, join the revolution.
“What side you on when the shit pops off?
Black or white, wrong or right?
Rich or poor, urban war
Shit might just jump off tonight”
I’ve been getting MASSIVELY into Body Count lately – and while this song may have been more appropriate choice for the last playlist, I think it compliments themes of unity and fighting alongside the oppressed nicely. Also, ICE-T and Dave Mustaine is not a combo I thought I’d ever hear, and damn it fucking works.
“Brothers and sisters, here I call to arms
Take back this land, for the common man
All men equal, we’ll stand as one
We’ve got the numbers, we shall overcome
Let them send the army, only said we’re right
Turn on the generals and join our fight
Storm the gates, let the people power
Victory will soon be ours”
This song has been the last song before our headliner for the last god knows how many shows. It is impossible to listen this song and not feel a sense of fight rising in you. There’s going to be a revolution – it’s getting closer. And we’re all going to fight for it together.
Maybe not in a literal sense – some of you will be supporting in less frontline positions. Making noise, spreading the word, tending to the physical and mental health of protestors.
But we all have a common goal – and we’re reaching breaking point. Victory will soon be ours.