Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts And Other Busyness

Prodigy Jilt The Jilted

Squall 11, Autumn 1995, pg. 10.

We’ve heard the lyrics about freedom and dissent? But where are the musicians when it comes to giving something back to the streets where they came from? And were those lyrics anything more than expedient lip service?

When Neil Goodwin, co-director of the Channel Four ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ documentary, completed his latest film on the No M11 Claremont Road eviction, he naturally wanted to put the Prodigy’s ‘Music for a Jilted Generation’ on the soundtrack. After all, as SQUALL found out when we interviewed the activists that resisted the eviction (SQUALL 9), the Prodigy’s music had given everyone the strength to resist the potential hysteria induced by the arrival of over 700 police.

“It made it seem like it was our eviction,” said Alison, who was on the scaffolding tower on Claremont Road. “We couldn’t control what happened but we had complete control of the sound. The music took everything over, raised everyone’s spirits and kept everybody together.”

Thanks to speakers hanging off the 100’ scaffolding tower, the Prodigy pumped out across the street.

“It made it all quite euphoric,” said Maxine, who was locked onto the street itself as the police came charging past and over her.

A hidden underground electricity supply system thwarted police attempts to cut the power to the music system and it continued for many hours.

So Neil Goodwin thought it would be no problem to ensure that The Prodigy would agree to have their music on the soundtrack. After all take one look at the ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’ album cover and you’ll see what gave him such confidence. A picture of a canyon. On one side a sound system in a meadow surrounded by dancers, and on the other hoards of truncheon-wielding riot police. And there, cutting the rope bridge between the two, is a radical with one finger up. “How can the government stop young people having a good time,” it says. “Fight this bollocks,” it says.

“No, you can’t use the music,” the Prodigy says. Pardon? “You can’t use the Prodigy’s music.”

According to Stuart Bishop, assistant manager of the Prodigy, the band have moved on since their ‘Music for a Jilted Generation’ album and no longer wished to be associated with political issues. As such they are not prepared to allow their music to be used on the soundtrack to film, despite the fact that you can hear their music in the background on the original footage.

Incredulous, Neil Goodwin then rang up a music journalist, Nick Jones who in turn contacted the Prodigy’s songwriter Liam Howlett. And from the horses mouth, the same story. The Prodigy no longer align themselves with any political movement - it was just a phase they were going through.

Neil Goodwin says that he now has no intention of removing the music from the film: “If they want to sue us then they’ll have to get in line behind the likes of the DoT, who are looking for £26 million already. We don’t expect the Prodigy to become the Mother Theresa of pop but we don’t take kindly to bands that sell number one albums on the back of social upheaval and then dismiss the harsh realities like some outmoded marketing ploy.”

Neil Goodwin’s film is called ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ and was completed with the financial assistance of Greenpeace. Details on how to acquire a copy of the video can be obtained by sending an SAE to Neil Goodwin, Life in the Fast Lane, 56A, Crampton Street, London SE17.

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For a menu of many other Squall articles about the Anti-Roads Movement, including protest camps, Reclaim The Streets and more click here