For this weekend contribution, it was hard to avoid making any reference to this week's events in the street of London. I felt thus this picture was perfect: a bunch of hooded gnomes on gravels...
A few times in the past I mentioned that the UK was more and more looking like France, with its too numerous French residents (London is the 7th French city in the world), its growing number of public transportation strikes, its sporting failures... And the riots of last few days can only confirm this trend.
In an earlier article, written on the back of Justice's video clip "Stress", I mentioned the situation in the Parisian suburbs and it is chilling to see the similarity with the current situation in Great Britain. A few differences though: when such events occur on the other side of Channel, the French thugs rampage their own neighborhood instead of moving to the commercial areas which is something that has always puzzled me, especially when they pretend to do that to demonstrate against the disastrous conditions in which they live (and don't get me wrong, they do). Motivations are similar but there are cultural/ethnic underlying drivers to their acts, whilst in the UK this driver is social class...
Different name, different context, different causes yet same symptoms. The youngsters aspire to be more than they can expect to be and see their social background as an inhibitor. Shortcuts to success is seen as a social lift, irrespective of their legal aspects.
This reminded me of a tune by French rap band, IAM. It is called Petit Frere (Little Brother). The original text can be read here, but I loosely attempted to translate an excerpt from this song:
Journalists set trends. Violence at school existed already
Back in my time: rackets, brawls, rampage,
A bat swinging in the windshield of the teacher car
A cutter kicks in and here is a scar
But covering them in the every evening news makes it banal
It is printed in the retina as normal
And if little brother wants to be talked about
He reiterates what he saw in the 9 o'clock news
Shit, in 1980's these were just acts,
But these journalists have turned them into matter of facts
And I don't think that Little Brother is worse than before
Just overexposed to advertising, to violent chore
For adults, kids are the best lemon
The target number 1, a field for consumer goods
And to be sure that he gets some
Little Brother hangs around with a gun by his side
We know who you are when we see what you own
Little Brother knows that and keeps it in mind
Money would open doors to a shiny blue sky
As easily as his screwdriver opens cars.
High standing is all he aspires to
It simply feels better when you wear Giorgio Armani
Concerned about the others' glances
In spite of his young age, Little Brother smokes to look older