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    Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood Pens Guardian Op-Ed About “Tragedy” of Brexit for Musicians


    Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood has written an op-ed for The Guardian arguing the European tours that helped establish Radiohead may not be possible for musicians emerging in the Brexit era. “It is time for the UK government to admit it didn’t do enough for the creative industries during the Brexit negotiations,” he writes, “and look to renegotiate on the provision for touring in Europe.” The piece comes amid renewed outrage from British musicians after reports suggested the UK had rejected a visa-free deal for musicians, because lawmakers prioritized “taking back control” of British borders. Elton John has also written a Guardian op-ed.

    Greenwood opens the piece by revisiting Radiohead’s early days touring Europe “in a crappy old bus that smelled of diesel and had sad grey curtains.” He describes a happy continental community of welcoming fans, media, and fellow artists. As recently as 2018, he writes, he was struck by the solidarity of Europeans in Brussels, where he was playing with the Belgian artist Tamino at a venue near a square called Place Jo Cox—named for the leftwing British politician who was murdered by a far-right extremist.

    He goes on to outline some of the technicalities that will hamstring artists hoping to tour the continent in the future. He speaks to a pair of Radiohead accountants, who explain likely hikes of hundreds of dollars in various visas and carnets, as well as cabotage rules that will make “a multi-city tour impossible with a UK tour bus or truck fleet.” Orchestral musicians, he adds, will lose out to European counterparts, and the latter, likewise, will be discouraged from studying and performing in Britain. “This is a tragedy of deferred dreams,” Greenwood writes.

    He concludes, “My country’s music is great because it scorns borders and boundaries; it is a great patriotic source, a force of confidence, joy and shared passions. I am proud of my country and all the music it has exchanged with the world, and I am sure that pride is felt across all ages and cultures in the UK. It is the antithesis of the culturally pinched nationalism that is Brexit, and its diminishment would deprive us all.”

    Read the full piece, titled “European touring made Radiohead the band we are. Brexit must not destroy it,” at The Guardian



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