I read in the Truth of Revolution, Brother that you said “humour and a great melody was a far better tool than aggression as a way to get people to listen.” Do you still think the arts are important in the fight for social change?
I think it’s massively important, because they’re a really important part of life and who we are and what we are. Art just seems like a much purer way of sharing important ideas than listening to a politician speak.
In the film you’re haunted by the ‘baby head’ character from the cover of the Tubthumper album. It follows you round questioning and belittling you at every turn. Where did that come from?
Baby head was basically a tool that we used to ask all the questions that we thought everybody would like to know the answer to, and to raise particular ideas.
To me it seems to represent the ghost of “Tubthumping.” How do you feel about the song now?
I actually have a really good relationship with the song. It's enabled me to live a creative existence for the last 25 years, so it would be really churlish of me to criticise it. I still enjoy it when people send me text messages saying they’ve heard the song on this film or on football highlights or something like that. That’s brilliant because it feels as though it's part of popular culture, you know? It still gets played as much now as it did 25 years ago. I make a living from that song, which is crazy. In fact, eight of us make a living from that song. That’s absolutely ridiculous! I’ve always been very protective of the song, it’s really important to me.
One of the big themes in the film is feeling helpless to change the world, and worrying about the future. How do you fight that doubt and does anything give you hope for the future?
The younger generation. This is the first time where I've been in a situation where I'm looking to a younger generation for inspiration. When I was growing up, and even in my twenties and thirties, I always looked to the older generation for that wisdom, for an elder who would speak truth to power. But in the last five or ten years there’s been so much activism coming from a younger generation, whether that's around Extinction Rebellion, or when kids were doing the school protests, or Emma Gonzalez and her speeches around the time of police shootings in Texas, or Tamika Mallory and her speeches after the death of George Floyd. Those women who stood up and stepped forward were so inspiring. Greta Thunberg too. I still think she's absolutely brilliant. It’s brilliant to see a new generation of people who are taking on that responsibility.
I Get Knocked Down is screening all over the UK through March, April and May. Tickets and info here.
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