SLEAFORD MODS: The long read

THE GUARDIAN / Mirander Sawyer

lot of these politicians, they’re not evil. They’re just very detached,” says Jason Williamson, singer and lyricist of the Sleaford Mods. “I’d like to say it’s not just bounteous privilege, but it is. People like Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, they’re incredibly cut off from the world. They’re not serial killers, they’re just ignorant of others. They treat people like they’re asking for change… Here you go, have a bit, tossing a coin while they’re eating a sandwich, looking at their mobile phone. I’ve visited Eton, there’s loads of places like it, and if that’s all you know, then you’ve definitely not had to worry about pulling a tenner out of the bank…”

“I watched this great video and it said that we’ve gone from a nation of people who considered Britain to be Great, to Little England,” says Andrew Fearn, the band’s musician. “Nearly everything’s imported. We don’t produce anything. We’re becoming like a little holiday island that doesn’t do anything. Even countries like Russia are doing better than the UK. But the point is: we’ve called it on ourselves. Our generation didn’t like Great Britain or the flag, we’ve always dissed our own country, so we’ve self-prophesied, in a way.”

Williamson: “The UK is like one of those crazy golf courses, where you’ve got a windmill, and then the next one is a stately home and the next one is a bridge. All we’ve got left are landmarks and characterisations of who we are, and examples of our architecture.”

Sleaford Mods are an excellent band: surreal, succinct, catchy, hilarious, prolific, brilliant live. But they’re also like those hyperactive children that go round the back of a puppet show and show other kids that the magic isn’t real. At one point in their existence, Williamson thought of calling the band That’s Shit, Try Harder – not a name destined for the Top 40 – and that’s still their approach to the world; a funny, no-compromise manifesto. No wonder they work so well with the artist Cold War Steve (real name Christopher Spencer), another specialist in hilarious political grotesque. Steve made the video for the opening single from their new album, UK Grim, and also created .....


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