Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Popular reactions to the death of Thatcher

The death of Margaret Thatcher has, predictably, elicited strong reactions. While the media coverage has tended to be respectful and/or celebratory, popular public reactions have taken a different course. Much of this is folkloric.

News reports have covered a number of spontaneous street parties. There has been a great deal of music. In Russell Square on Monday I heard a man burst into a tuneless but enthusiastic musical rendition of the phrase 'She's dead' at full volume. 'Ding Dong the Witch is Dead', from Wizard of Oz, has been much sung. (April 8 was also, fittingly, the birthday of its lyricist, Yip Harburg).

Discussions on Twitter are encouraging two minutes of national rough music during her funeral as a peaceful expression of moral condemnation, in a way familiar from rough music protests elsewhere.

There has also been graffiti. This will likely be removed quickly, so documenting it becomes ever more urgent. These impassioned tags were photographed at a bus stop on Gower Street, WC1, the day after Thatcher's death.

I will make every effort to document more of this as I see it. Given her official standing, it is likely that the media record will chart official reactions better. It is one of the strengths of folklore that it can focus on this other, informal, material.

1 comment:

  1. The call for rough music can be found here: