Skullflower. Some thoughts.
written by Kristian Robert Carter
This is going to hopefully be my final post on the whole Skullflower episode after I and a few other friends were pulled into its orbit.
I personally think that the dropping of Bowers project Skullflower was the result of what can only be seen as the continuing gentrification of the capital and it's rapidly shrinking music venues. There are very few venues left as many have closed down. The remaining venues are the domain of a small number of promoters and license holders.
With the current climate of 'moral and political' safety, diversity and safe spaces any art or music that has difficult and troubling themes, art or aesthetics are increasingly finding itself subject to a hysterical moral McCarthyism. If you are unwilling, unable or unknowingly able to put whatever art form you use for self-expression into some kind of context; you will be seen as potentially problematic and a threat to the new era of ' tolerance at any price '.
It will not matter if you are guilty of any indiscretion you will be judged on how you are perceived by the moral arbiters of decency. There is also a massive culture of morality point scoring if you are seen to be acting in the will of the common good and the vast majority of individuals who want to sleepwalk through life shepherded like sheep by those who know better.
Skullflower had to go. Not because of any Nazism or white power reality but because members of the audience and the Twitterati 'felt uncomfortable' by aspects of their aesthetics. Bower refused to contextualize his art or provide reasons as to why he uses certain images and symbols.
There was no smoking gun of proof, the so-called evidence was spurious and lacked any credibility.
The refusal to play the game and provide a sheep-like an audience with the information they desired so as to not feel threatened was the key factor in all this.
I imagine The Quietus and Raw Power were expecting a capitulation to this hysterical mob along the lines of Mark Solotroff or William Bennett, both of whom were forced to issue statements in defence of their art in order to appease the mob baying for their blood.
Bower remained silent. Bower had to go.
There is still no irrefutable proof that Skullflower is a white power band. There is simply half-truths and trawling through years of internet posts trying to find that silver bullet.
The Quietus is expanding its witch hunt and by all accounts seems to be labouring under the apprehension that they are the new cultural guardians. They will decide who and what should be acceptable in this hyper-liberal age of enforced conformity to the new artistic morality.
What the Quietus and others don't realise is that they are the mirror image of the hard conservative censorship lobby that was so prevalent in the final two decades of the last century. That this morality police approach the censorship of art from the Liberal left does not make them any different from the censorship of Mary Whitehouse or Tipper Gore.
To compound matters, certain individuals and groups have moved in unison during this Skullflower censorship bloodletting. Various people with personal scores to settle have been given an opportunity to settle scores, mischief makes and causes problems to those they regard as foes.
The so-called anti-Nazi triumvirate of Blake, Home and Ayers have obviously used this explosion of public wrath to steer trouble onto those they have personal vendettas against. This cabal has attempted to cast the net thrown over Skullflower to ensnare and bring down others. The ludicrous Who Makes The Nazis witch-hunting mob are also involved in trying to gain as much momentum against those they have targeted before whilst the Skullflower backlash Applecart is rolling.
These attacks have not just been the domain of the Liberal Left but a swathe of so-called Right Wingers have also used the above to get involved and sow some discord against their foes they share in common with the Liberal left.
To make things even more convoluted many opportunists have jumped on the bandwagon and tried to embroil people in the mess in order to settle scores, not at all linked to the whole Quietus/Skullflower issue.
This is especially true of myself who was drawn into it all not because of Skullflower but for other reasons such as I once had a dalliance with a woman they liked or I publically criticised their favourite band.
This whole episode will be looked back upon I hope with embarrassment, however, I do also fear that it will embolden those who seek to destroy art forms that they do not understand and believe are dangerous to their political and ideological positions.
Article on Quietus: