"'ere, mate," says Billy Bragg, pointing at the pint of beer that a fan has left on the lip of the stage. "I wouldn't leave that there if I was you. I've got a hell of cold and believe me, if I cough up a load of phlegm into it you'll get fuck all on eBay for it!" It's a miserable late February night in North London and not even the Bard of Barking, or, as his new tour shirt has it, the Sherpa of Heartbreak, is immune from the Panzer division of lurgee that's cutting mercilessly through the capital. But while Bragg himself is suffering its vile effects, his music remains in rude health.
Standing in the Lexington 30 years after the release of his first album, Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy, it's impossible to shake the feeling of not only a sense of déjà-vu but also that things have come full circle for us and Billy Bragg. The country is under attack from the savage austerity measures brought on by the Tory-led coalition as Bragg once more casts his compassionate and humane eye over the devastating effects of right wing politics. Though new album Tooth And Naileschews the more overt political diatribes for which he's best known, the humanity that beats at its heart displays an artist concerned with the positive aspects of human interaction in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. And why not? Because let's face it – if we haven't got we each other than what have we got? TBC Here