Posted by: martinworster | November 14, 2019

Post Millenial Tension


I just saw Massive Attack perform Mezzanine at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. They – and it – were amazing. Mezzanine came out in 1998 and I remember at the time there was a slew of albums – Radiohead’s OK Computer, Tricky’s Pre-Millenial Tension – etc which reflected the mood at the time which was one of a sense of anxiety about the impending dawn of the year 2000. Hence, the music was self-reflective and moody, a brooding unease and anxiety to what the future might bring. Gosh, I miss the 90s. Things seemed all a bit simpler then. Flash forward to the vantage point of today – considering the the world seems in a more perilous state than ever – and all that pre-millenial worry seems retrospectively benign and innocent. I’d swap 1998 for 2019 any day – or year – of the week.

Does anyone else get the sense the world has slightly shifted of it’s axis in the last 5 years? Namely Trump and Brexit spring to mind, but other imminent issues and worries rise up: climate change, Bolsonaro in Brazil – those Amazon forest fires (every tree huggers worst nightmare), Putin (the ever dependable pantomime villain), ever expanding refugee hotspots and crisis, the expanding chasm of the rich poor divide and the lonlieness and divisions that social media is increasingly generating. I realise that each one of these issues is an essay in it’s own right, but collectively they seem to point to a world teetering on the brink of, well, something.

In my native country of England I’ve never seen it so divided over Brexit. Families split down the middle, such a complicated issue that no single individual or political party can ever succesfully navigate as we are so intrinsically linked to Europe, right down to the very core and fabric of our society.

Brexit is a stupid idea. A short four years ago, it wasn’t even really a big issue, it was an afterthough of Cameron’s to appease the long suffering internal wranglings of the Conservative party. At the time there were much more pressing issues – austerity, the economy, education, climate change – that demanded greater political attention and action. No one ever thought Brexit would happen. Just like Trump being voted in it was a total shock. Now almost three years later we are still no closer to an issue and I for one think ‘where is this all headed’? How exactly will we be better off outside Europe?’

After watching the excellent ‘The Great Hack’ you also wonder at the shady goings on – via Cambridge Analytica in both the Brexit and Trump campaigns. How easily it is to manipulate the public now via online digital trickery and swing devisive votes with small margins by focusing lazer like on the small sector of a demographic who can alter the outcome. The Trump election manipulative drill down focused on just 70,000 people in three states. You also wonder at the interferences of countries like Russia who can easily and almost openly, maniuplate situations, votes and democracies by similar means. All this disquiet and division in both countries makes them both weaker entities. Putin must be rubbing his hands in glee from the sidelines. Britain leaving Europe and a subsequently weaker Europe plays right into Putin’s geo-political agenda. Take me back to 1998.

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