Credit: Hekerui

Damon Albarn says the UK pandemic response shows "no empathy with the arts"

Blur frontman and Gorillaz co-creator, Damon Albarn, has lamented the UK government’s response to the current coronavirus pandemic in what he believes exhibits “no empathy with the arts”.

Across the major health crisis, arts funding has been scarce as musicians, venues, filmmakers, cinemas, art galleries, artists and more have faced potential financial ruin as strict social distancing measures places major uncertainty on their futures. In what Albarn described as “an essential part of British culture”, the musician has been outspoken in his criticism.

At a time when major discussions have been about finding a way for the football season to continue and, now, to introduce sports fans back into the stadiums, Albarn has been left dismayed as the art world is seemingly left out in the cold. “We live in a pretty fucking miserable country at times and we need our arts to uplift us. It should be part of the prescription for our national health,” he said in a new interview with The Independent.

“Maybe a little less emphasis on the Premier League just running and a bit more love given to the arts would be a start because, I’m sorry, I love football as much as anybody else but football alone does not sustain my soul,” he added.

Albarn is currently holed up in a hotel with his colleagues who have formed a socially safe Covid-free bubble so they are able to rehearse for a series of virtual Gorillaz concerts. When turning his attentions to the slow release of a vaccine, the 52-year-old added: “The beginning of crawling out of the pit… in a bleak landscape it is definitely a beacon of unbridled joy and hope.”

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