I have a new favourite Christmas song. I'm not sure what my old favourite Christmas song was, but there's no way it can be as awesome as Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher from Billy Elliot: The Musical. This is the chorus:
So merry Christmas Maggie ThatcherI wasn't particularly fond of the movie Billy Elliot. I felt it wasn't particularly well written, and the mining strike was too far in the background. I wouldn't have expressed any interest in the musical, but my sister has just come back from the UK, and she brought the Cast Recording with her.
May God's love be with you
We all sing together in one breath
Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher
We all celebrate today
'Cause it's one day closer to your death
I'd consider a song about celebrating Maggie Thatcher's death enough to make a musical anyway, but there's more. There are songs of solidarity and struggle, which give workers' struggle weight and importance.
I'll probably never see the musical, for all I'm loving soundtrack and I'm still a little unsure about the idea. I believe passionately that we need to tell the stories of our struggles. Knowing about fighting and winning, even fighting and losing, is the hope in our history. I don't know much about the miner's strike, and I'm a trade unionist and historian, who was born in Britain. Billy Elliot: The Musical will keep the history of the miners strike alive.
But this a West End musical, with seat prices to match. At what point do people telling their own stories become the commodification of resistance? Does it matter that the creators don't see themselves writing about someone else's life, but feel resonances in their own life for the story that they tell?
Do ex-miners and their families get in free?
* . I think the miners, the union movement, and the working class, would have been far stronger if their vision of the future hadn't been so very limited.