Damon Albarn accuses government of having zero empathy for arts: ‘Football alone does not sustain my soul’

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read
Damon Albarn has called out the government over its response to the Covid-19 pandemic (Rex Features)
Damon Albarn has called out the government over its response to the Covid-19 pandemic (Rex Features)

Damon Albarn has called out the government over its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Blur frontman and brains behind Gorillaz condemned politicians for focusing on football and commerce instead of the arts.

Speaking ahead of a series of virtual Gorillaz concerts, the 52-year-old said the current government has “no empathy with the arts”, which he called “an essential part of British culture”.

“We live in a pretty f****** miserable country at times and we need our arts to uplift us. It should be part of the prescription for our national health,” he said.

“Maybe a little less emphasis on the Premier League just running and a bit more love given to the arts would be a start because, I'm sorry, I love football as much as anybody else but football alone does not sustain my soul.”

Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the illustrator and animator behind the Gorillaz virtual band, will blend live music and animations across three shows this month, with the help of Block9, the production and staging company behind one of Glastonbury's after-hours areas.

The performances will feature a selection of guests from their latest record, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.

Albarn described the live shows as a potential “game-changer” for both the band and the music industry.

“If we get this right it will be a game-changer. No-one has ever done anything like this before,” he said.

“But I hasten to add there is a huge potential for things to go wrong. When you have cartoons and live music trying to happen at the same time, it's f****** mad really. It's exciting and in a way we have morphed again.”

Read The Independent’s review of Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez here.

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