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Today I am 70. So that’s that, then

by Laurence Hughes

Composer Laurence Hughes tries to express what it is like being an ‘incorrect’ creative artist in Britain today – the ‘wrong’ sort of person, with the ‘wrong’ political and cultural views, writing the ‘wrong ‘ kind of music. Perhaps he can be seen as speaking for the many other composers and other artists in the same situation?

Today I am 70. So that’s that, then

I would like to thank the music world for its magnificent (NON) celebration of this auspicious occasion. And for its touching (NON) appreciation of my 40 years + of effort, resulting in some 200 musical works of all types (mostly unheard) and literally millions of notes. And for the hugely encouraging (NON) performance of any of my music whatsoever in public since 2014.

After a certain amount of success in the 1990s, with performances in this country and abroad, broadcasts of my music, commissions, and music for TV films, not to mention years of freelance music journalism for the national press and BBC radio, since the cultural revolution of 1997 the last 25 years has seen a steady downward slide, until I have reached my current state of being a complete ‘non-person’ in the music profession. I am not even mentioned even in passing in a single reference work/site on British music.

Of course I realise that as an elderly white male I, and many other composers like me, absolutely deserve to be ‘cancelled’ like this, as just punishment for our white/gender ‘privilege’, and our cruel oppression of composers from other backgrounds, etc, etc. In the brave new world of 2020’s Britain people like us are surplus to requirement. The desire to contribute, even in a small way, to a great tradition is now redundant. In any case, that tradition is largely dead now as the result of the ideological deformation of our arts and culture.

I would also like to put on record my massive appreciation of the Remainer resistance and sabotage, followed by the Covid police state, which put an end to the energy and optimism that should have resulted from our leaving the EU. I and thousands of others worked for years and sacrificed time, money and in some cases our friends and reputations, to try to restore a sovereign democracy based on individual liberty, a small state, freedom of speech and common law rights. Instead we now have a ‘banana monarchy’ in which increasing surveillance and ‘social credit’ measures are dominant, everything is run by an unaccountable liberal-left ‘technocrat’ elite, and where opening your mouth if you have ‘incorrect’ views risks ruining your life.

To cap it all, in my 70th year I have personally experienced the arbitrary authoritarianism of the modern British state when I was recently shockingly and humiliatingly arrested at gunpoint and criminalised for completely innocuous activity. I have watched my country become a ghettoised, divided society full of half-educated, obese, obedient, brain-dead sheep who merely live to consume, believe everything they hear in the media, and are quite happy – even eager – to have their basic civil and human rights trampled under foot, in return for ‘safety’ and instantaneous Amazon deliveries. It is a country in which I now feel a complete stranger most of the time. And just to complete things, the Queen – the last link with the country and way of life I grew up in and felt part of – died. I was hoping she’d out-last me.

The disappointment and disillusionment is now complete. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing left to aspire to or strive for. I just can’t be bothered any more. I have had enough. What a massive waste of time and energy!

In case anyone would like to contemplate the futility of human effort, some 150 of my musical works (including symphonies, major choral works, etc.) – only about one third of which have ever been performed – are available on the Score Exchange site, here:

Thank you for your attention (if any).

Laurence Hughes is a composer and former freelance music journalist and broadcaster

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