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The Long Goodbye – Riz Ahmed

Week 128.0 — 6th April '20

It wasn't until I saw the video with subtitles that the enormity of the words hit me.

The Windrush scandal and Brexit have caused real divisions in society. For me, both are clearly wrong but I've never heard it framed in a way that moved me in a way other than anger and despair.

My phone flashed and I see she keeps calling
Answer the phone, she keeps bawling
Said she was broke and how she's living is appalling
She needs building up and sorting
She told me that her soldiers have all fallen
Told me to rush like a wind bringing the warmth in
A sob story and I bought it
Felt good, she asked me to move in
Said together we can build a new ting
The truth is, I looked up to her and needed soothing
I thought if she accepted me my worth would be proven
Yeah, and new kids
Born in our house, a new movement
A future of mixed cultures, but I was so fucking stupid
Didn't stop to think how badly it would just confuse them
Like "Daddy why does Mum hate me? She looks at me and says 'Who's this?'"
I came home one day and she changed the locks
My brown and white sepia sapna gone to pot
Says she blames me for how lately she's been feeling lost
How she ain't what she was and how her kids don't show no love
So now she's taking back control and she wants me to fuck off
Told the feds I'm dangerous, insane and trying to kill her off
Had no time to explain to them, the sniper's took their shots
I'm heartbroken and I'm homeless, forgotten who I was
Before I got told I'm only good for blood, sweat and cock
Britannia's trying to throw me out, Brittney, baby, please stop
I thought we had a special thing, I know that we can make it up
Brittney, if you break up with me I might just break up
This will either be the end of me or be the wake-up
Brittania breaking up with me, this is the break up

The way Riz Ahmed personifies the relationship makes it all the more obvious as to how abusive Britain has been towards the rest of the world over its history. In school we're taught about Britain's history in a positive light, despite the exploitation but here, Ahmed isn't talking about history that came long before us, he's talking about the conduct of the current regime. I have to say that I've been very lucky in my life. I've encountered next to no racism, unlike my parents and grand parents did. And yet the issue of Brexit has made me feel very uncomfortable. Maybe some of it is down to being a parent too.

I don't remember ever wishing that there was more representation of my own culture on TV but it was always appreciated when I saw it. Now, it's more than appreciation. For my kids it's great to see that they can achieve any dream they have because the glass ceiling has already been broken.

The Long Goodbye is one of the shortest albums I've listened to, but it's brevity has provoked a lot of thinking for me.

If you haven't already, it's also worth watching the first video from the album for the track Where You From. Particularly, these two lines really spoke to me:

Britain's where I'm born, and I love a cup of tea and that
But tea ain't from Britain it's from where my DNA is at

Riz Ahmed was recently on the Hip Hop Save My Life podcast with Romesh Ranganathan and he also performed Where You From? on the Big Narstie Show last month.

I've embedded the album from Spotify above, but you can also find The Long Goodbye on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

More from 1 Thing A Week
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Quick links and commentary on interesting articles, videos and more throughout the week.

  1. 128.2 – Tuesday
    1. This video's title tells you how many views it has Tom Scott on youtube.com
  2. 128.3 – Wednesday
    1. 13 Tweets about the lockdown that you'll only understand If you're British buzzfeed.com
    2. The Path North Mario Konang on apod.nasa.gov
    3. IYOKI Philips Hue light switch covers Andy Kindon on kickstarter.com
    4. Apple's guide to assembling and adjusting your Face Shield support.apple.com
  3. 128.4 – Thursday
    1. Epic travel photos using indoor optical illusions washingtonpost.com
    2. The Pope: "I hear populist speeches, like those of Hitler." thetablet.co.uk
    3. Ingenious concrete-filled trains act as giant batteries informationisbeautiful.net
    4. Justin Timberlake on Hot Ones First We Feast on youtube.com
  4. 128.5 – Friday
    1. 2020 did to Black Mirror what 2016 did to House Of Cards @mahemoff on twitter.com
    2. Dozens of science & engineering activities for kids from the James Dyson Foundation kottke.org
  5. 128.7 – Sunday
    1. The Truth swiss-miss.com
    2. My thoughts on the UK government's daily updates on COVID-19 ? @cchana on twitter.com

Jump to notable items for Week #127, Week #129 , view the notable archive or my favourites.

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