Great Torrington, North Devon. Friday March 1st, 2013.
In 1646 the decisive battle of the south-western campaign of the First English Civil War was fought here. It marked the end of all Royalist resistance in the West Country.
Since then, very little has happened. Until this evening. Tonight, Great Torrington finds itself once again on the map as it plays host to a performance by Public Service Broadcasting.
Public Service Broadcasting are a London-based electronic musical ensemble comprising J Willgoose, Esq on guitars, computer loops and keyboards and drummer Wrigglesworth.
Currently performing a number of installations at venues up and down the country that are, until now of course, “off the beaten track” , so to speak.
Each musical item served up for our delectation this evening is accompanied by black-and-white video footage, each a veritable montage from Britain’s past – but this is no simple exercise in nostalgia.
Far from it.
For in an age where all respect for authority has been lost, some would say rightfully, where are the young to find moral guidance?
Public Service Broadcasting have concluded, as have many of us, that this can and must come from an examination of Britain’s past – and they do this in a very clever way, by superimposing images and voices from the past over the dance beats that young people find so compelling.
Three examples of this are provided below.
The spirit of the Blitz is commemorated with the defiant “London Can Take It”. Sinister air-raid sirens sound over the familiar English church bells as a comforting voice ensures us all will be well.
Next we have “Spitfire” – a truly inspirational tribute to the aircraft that won the Battle Of Britain.
And finally, one of the ensemble’s newer pieces, “Signal 30”, a stark warning to be safe when behind the wheel of a car, which is more timely today than it has ever been.
All these numbers and many others are performed this evening with elan, éclat and – always – with gravitas and dignity.
Mr Willgoose and his trusty drummer do not deign to engage in futile exchanges with the occasional yahoo who dares to “heckle” them. Instead, these fellows are made to look pretty silly by electronic means – more I shall not say, as this is all part of the show.
It is my fervent hope that every man, woman and child reading these words should soon attend a performance from Public Service Broadcasting.
They are currently engaged in travelling the length and breadth of this sceptred isle, so, as our American cousins might have it, they will most certainly be coming to a town near you soon.
Furthermore, the ensemble’s debut long playing record will be released on May 6th, 2013, and should be available from HMV and Woolworth’s, as well as from your local independent record shops.
In conclusion, may I thank Messrs Willgoose and Wrigglesworth for such an enlightening evening and assure them on behalf of all present that their stated aims to Inform, Educate and Entertain have been met – indeed, exceeded.
God Save The King.