Fuck London: the aftermath

by FCK LDN

An original logo our graphic designer proposed for an early version of FCK LDN.

An original logo our graphic designer proposed for an early version of FCK LDN.

This month has been pretty stressful for us.

To bring you up to speed, it was the month that Vice offshoot Noisey UK ran a series of features about “music scenes outside the capital” called “Fuck London”.

Trying (but probably failing) to assume good faith, we emailed them politely pointing out that we already cover “music scenes outside the capital” and that we’re pretty much called Fuck London. We explained that we’ve been doing it since January 2014.

They didn’t reply to us.

They did, however, ferret through their database, retroactively categorising old content with the “Fuck London” tag. It may not have been the intention, but that just might have given a casual observer the mistaken impression that Noisey came up with the idea first.

Classy.

After: A piece originally published on the 21st of March 2014 - retroactively  tagged "Fuck London".

After: A piece originally published on the 21st of March 2014 – retroactively tagged “Fuck London”.

 

Before: How the piece appeared three days after its original publication...

Before: How the piece appeared three days after its original publication… thanks to Wayback Machine.

Someone at The Guardian got in touch with us. We thought they wanted to know more about the story – and we dutifully supplied them with the details. That was before we realised that half of the people who contributed content to the Fuck London week have written for the fucking Guardian.

Meh. So have we.

We don’t for a second think that any of the  people who wrote for Noisey’s Fuck London week are actually bad people. We’re quite sure they’re the same mix of nice and not-so-nice you’ll find in any group of individuals. Some people are lovely, ethical and honest. Others are bastards. And this lot? They’re just another bunch of writers who love music, right?

But, what sticks in our broken teeth like unpopped Butterkist is the thought that somewhere down the line one of those individuals saw our branding early on and thought that’s a good idea.

So they took it.

They took it because they knew they could get away with it. They’re working for a global media company and we’re small enough to ignore. We choose to believe that all those other nice and not-so-nice people were simply caught up in that act of hubris.

That ladies, gents and those of you with more fluid gender identities, is how power works. That’s how privilege works. Someone bigger or richer or posher or whiter than you takes what you have, just because they can, and all their mates stand around and watch while they do it.

A bit like the way London soaks up more of our tax money per head of the population than anywhere else in the UK.

That’s why we needed FCK LDN in the first place – and that’s why we still need it.

It’s also why they can never be us.

Noisey can commission some wannabe Londoner to write a guide to places in Manchester where tattooed plastics twitch all night like gurning twats. They can get a staffer to reminisce winsomely about the one pot shit-hole town they crawled out of as they gaze through the Shoreditch office gak-haze.

But it will always comes with a side-dish of urban safari. It will always read like David Attenborough narration.

Here, in the outer reaches of Lancashire, at the native “Working Men’s Clubs” , young  ‘bands’ try out self written guitar songs on the elders of their tribe. These places are a little like the bars of our fair capital, but they allow old people in them and there is bingo, instead of beard grooming and Korean street food.

With us, you know that we mean what we say. There will be no ironic detachment or nagging belief that the rest of the UK is just the place that you leave when you come to London. Ever.

We are, as a great Welshman once carved into his arm, 4 Real.

So what next? We brush ourselves down, get back up and move on.

Stay tuned this week. We’ve got reviews scheduled every day covering the best in new music and big features based on “scenes outside the capital”. Just like we always do…

  • Benn Farrar

    Half way through reading this I realised what yu’re actually talking about is white people reappropriating/taking black music.

    • Smithereens

      It’s the story of social hierarchy throughout the ages, class, race, gender, capitalism… power corrupts.