Photography: Robin Clewley / robinclewley.co.uk

The longer nights were always going to be the home for this new nadir of uncertainty. Turn the clocks back three years, not just the customary hour, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the minute and hour hands have frozen and reality ceased.

Everyday absurdities rendered meaningless. Career-ending soundbites now campaigning rhetoric. Every day, the same excruciating arguments evenly squared off by the BBC, Question Time now being an exercise in self-harm. The vernacular of logic has been crowded out in favour of blind-hope terrace chants. Consequence has been removed from the vocabulary of those at the wheel of political madness.

With Bido Lito! being a collection of voices, stories and song, it’s perhaps most disheartening to witness this growing desecration of language. What should remain a medium free from fearmongering, division and deceit has been weaponised in the most odious manner – all in an attempt to win the stalemate with little regard for the irreparable chasm it carves between us all. It wasn’t so long ago that discourse rewarded those who had a way with words. Now, discourse is a battlefield for those who want their own way with the help of words.

“There remains a strong appetite for visual language that takes on the biggest issues in society with positivity and hope”

This being my first editorial as Editor, it feels somewhat hollowing to know it’s delivered with a tone of anxiety. But it’s important to acknowledge that the arts and music can’t reside offshore from these bizarre goings on. This is not to say all art should aim to reflect, respond and protest these times ahead; to do so would be limiting and unfair. In return, artists must be granted space. However, it’s clear that those at the levers of power are drawing an ever-tightening perimeter around free spaces of thought and ideas, movements and cultures. Art should allow for the momentary escape free from ideological borders, many of which are currently under threat from a barrage of isolationist rhetoric.

Looking to our cover feature, The Mysterines break with the haze of shadow-encrusted language and tell us how it is. They let their music do the talking and, surprisingly, leave little else to mystery. We also come to see the effervescent hip hop trio Nutribe as an antidote all should endeavour to experience. As they put it across themselves: “Everyone likes to hear positivity. Why wouldn’t they? People like to see three MCs having a good time, chatting goodness.” This direct, positive language is not solely reserved for lyricism in this issue. As we see in Jordan Ryder’s assessment of Keith Haring’s work, there remains a strong appetite for visual language that takes on the biggest issues in society with positivity and hope. It is perhaps the visual artist’s energy and belief we should look to when the longest nights roll in.

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