Devil Does Not Write Grant Applications

As we come to the end of the year, it is always a good time to embrace the spirit of forgiveness. So, let us all praise the politician who has forgiven the Devil.

In this week’s coverage of Festival News, we had a story from the BBC on the 30th anniversary of a protest in Caerphilly, Wales.

On December 14, 1976, the Sex Pistols came to town during their very first tour. The tour (called “Anarchy” because what’s a tour without a catchy name) coincided with promoting the Sex Pistols first single, “Anarchy in the U.K.” (“I Wanna Be Me” was on the B-side.)

The group was met by a vociferous band of protesters, led by “church groups and local mothers.” A local vicar was quoted at the time as saying he had sat with a murderer but wouldn’t be able to shake hands with the Sex Pistols. The press played it up, and the Sex Pistols were tagged with being the Devil’s spawn.

In film from the event (included in Julien Temple’s The Great Rock ‘n Roll Swindle), at the front of the protest was a local politician, Mr. Davies.

Now, 30 years later he asks forgiveness:

“…. because the young mothers were against it and I just wanted to represent their point of view…When when I look back now…I feel absolutely and thoroughly ashamed of myself. I’ve got some great regrets when I look back at it because who am I, a fuddy-duddy councillor, to tell young people what they should listen to, what they should enjoy and how they should conduct themselves and their lives? We should try and put a plaque there to the Sex Pistols to commemorate the event that took place in Caerphilly and I would be prepared to unveil it.”

Mr. Davies: You are forgiven.

Here’s an idea, though, of what you, Mr. Davies, can do with your newfound wisdom that has moved you from Devil Spawn-ite to God Save the Sex Pistols. The next time there is a new work of art — a new sound, a new vision, a new stage language — please do encourage your fellow politicians, theologians, and busy-bodies not to leap to the Devil-is-among-us-and-making-art assumption. A better assumption would be that a new artist has given voice to a new way of seeing, or hearing, or reacting to, our world.

Put another way, why do the artists have to write all the grants, but the Devil gets all the credit? Enough already.

To celebrate the anniversary, a punk festival was held at the local rugby club.

If you couldn’t make it, but would like a little Sex Pistols background music for your office or home, check out God Save the Queen or some concert footage from a fan’s point of view.

I think even Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus would be proud.

- Bill Reichblum

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