Have you seen Harmer’s post-Brexit Lament “We Will Rise Again” on YouTube? It’s the most absurd bit of posturing you’re ever likely to see, and if post post modernism ever decides it’s gone far enough in its search for puffed-up, meaningless expressions of worthless, empty sentiment, then this song could well be its holy grail, its end point. Connoisseurs of kitsch can rub their hands in glee – a new depth in bad taste has been reached, the sluice gates of true dross have been breached.
The high fidelity sound, good musicianship, and good camera work of the video all go to emphasise the extraordinary pretentiousness and bathos of Harmer’s song. Here we go again with all the dripping, unconsidered sentiment, the numbing, dulling breath of Cambridge clichés, and most of all the atrocious, truly dire attempts at verse. Who but Harmer could sing this
After the rain came falling and the truth was washed away
I called my brother on the telephone, just to see what he would say.
without gagging on its inane banality? It’s so awful that it’s actually funny. It’s so distasteful, so crass, that the only thing you can do is laugh at it. How could such badly-written crap be so theatrically presented with such high-minded intent, with not so much as a hint of irony informing it? How could such effort have gone into giving voice to such hopeless drivel? How could the talented cast have voluntarily aided and abetted this drippingly sentimental, gushingly trite, ridiculously overworked message of “hope”? The only possible response is laughter – otherwise you just might want to cry.
And this, of course, is Harmer’s reaction to Brexit. We might ask who the “we” in “We will rise again” refers to, but really, why bother!