In a recent interview Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres of the British indie agit-rock band Cornershop (formed in Leicester in 1991) invoke William Morris in their reflections on the current state of the music industry:
“We met through a love of William Morris and this [the struggle of independent musicians against the industry] is very William Morris. He was trying to work with his own crafts within new technology – industrialism and machines – and we’re still there, trying to balance artistic-ness and technology. William Morris was the turn of the last century, we’re the turn of the next century. And we firmly believe it” (The Guardian Guide, 11.07.09, p.14).
And the official Cornershop website confirms this late nineteenth-century affiliation:
“the William Morris theory has always been our raja raag, and it was strangely William Morris and his splendid public beard that brought Tjinder and Ben together as friends in the first instance”.
We are so used to the notion that Morris himself was thoroughly unmusical (though this view has occasionally been challenged) that it comes as quite a surprise to see contemporary young radical musicians citing his influence in this way. Perhaps, then, some systematic further research in this field would prove fruitful. Meantime, Cornershop’s new album, Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast, is out on the 27th July, or check out their recent anti-war single, ‘The Roll Off Characteristics (Of History in the Making)’ – a title which Morris himself would surely have approved.