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Music

Robert Fripp and Toyah Wilcox support Ukraine

Over the course of the Covid-19 epidemic, King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp issued a series of videos featuring his wife Toyah Wilcox on lead vocals. In what was almost a history of rock, the duo compiled a selection of standards that were diverse in their nature, and punchy in their performance. The performances have nominally avoided politics, but this week’s version of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ and Living Colour’s ‘Cult of Personality.’

Where Neil Young may have intended ”Rockin’ in the Free World’ as his critique of the changing American landscapes, this version takes a more prescient coating, taking aim at the Russian conflict. Eagle-eyed viewers could note that Fripp was wearing the colours of Ukraine, and Wilcox danced next to the sign reading, “A free world for all is the dog’s bollocks.” In Britain, “dog’s bollocks” is a positive descriptor, and translates as “A free world for all is a great thing”.

Their rendition of ‘Cult of Personality’ furthered the sentiment, as the duo took this as an opportunity to demonstrate their contempt for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The duo used this video to celebrate the unquenchable spirit of the Ukrainian people, feeling that this hour of need is a grim hour indeed.

There have been other rock luminaries who have criticised the current ongoing conflict. Former prog luminary Peter Gabriel wrote a damning indictment on his Facebook page, and Queen songwriter Brian May wrote similar opinions on his Instagram page. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, meanwhile, issued a photo of himself performing in Ukraine, and The Police’s bassist Sting re-recorded ‘Russians’ as a way of supporting the Ukrainian people. Franz Ferdinand and Iron Maiden have postponed concerts in Russia, feeling that the safety of their fans overshadows any personal feelings they hold for the country.

Fleetwood Mac songwriter Stevie Nicks went as far as to compare Putin to Adolf Hitler. “This is Hitler coming back to haunt us. In one evening, until now, an entire sovereign country has been full-on invaded,” she wrote. “How dare he”. The songwriter felt that Putin’s tactics were similar to the Nazi party, and understood the importance of her words.

For now though, see Fripp and Wilcox perform, below.