TV Smith, or Tim as nobody calls him, was one of the first wave of punks forming The Adverts in 1976 – remember ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’? TV never fell far from that tree as his latest album, Lockdown Holiday, amply demonstrates. Like many artists he saw 2020 wiped out and actually succumbed to Covid-19 in the early days of the pandemic.
Lockdown Holiday is a sort of journal of the year opening with the story of a cancelled tour and subsequently contracting the virus. That song is called, surprisingly, ‘The Lucky Ones’ and when TV switches the narrative to the squalor of a refugee camp that makes sense. Before that he talks of shopping by stealth and “hearing the words of the Left spouting out of the mouths of the Right”. The second track, ‘Bounce Back’, looks forward to the end of the pandemic while commenting on the vicissitudes of life under lockdown.
The album was recorded with just solo guitar in TV’s home studio and there is nothing very subtle about it. You wouldn’t want subtlety, though, and the targets are well telegraphed in the titles. ‘Artificial Flowers’ despises the lowest common dominator that society has reached with forensic accuracy; “when you’ve watched all the box sets what’s next?”. What indeed?
‘Fake News’ and ‘Send In The Clown’ take aim at the obvious targets and between them ‘Lockdown Holiday’ comments on the new reality and asks who will pay when it’s all over. Smith is in no doubt. The next three tracks, ‘The Race For Last Place’, ‘Join The Mainstream’ and ‘Let’s Go Back To The Good Old Days’ point their fingers squarely at the government and their efforts to pin us down and make us conform to their vision: look the other way, go with the herd, don’t make waves. Sadly, he will be preaching to the already converted – you won’t find this album in Michael Gove’s Desert Island Discs selection.
‘I Surf The Second Wave’ with its punning title is really a song of defiance but the closing ‘Going Nowhere Fast’ brings us back to the grim reality of life. Lockdown Holiday is a record to listen to when you’re feeling deadened by the drudgery and need to be reminded to stay angry. It’s not hard.
Artist’s website: https://www.tvsmith.com/
‘Send In The Clown’ – official video: