Friday, July 06, 2018

Feelgood music

Just a stone's throw from Cardiff Castle stands a statue of Aneurin Bevan, the left-wing firebrand MP who is credited as the architect of the NHS. So it was entirely fitting that former Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys should have chosen to perform 'No Profit In Pain' there yesterday, given that the song was specifically commissioned by National Theatre Wales for their NHS70 festival.

Writing in the Guardian, Rhys explained the motivation behind his involvement and the decision to temporarily abandon his customary "lyrical abstraction" in favour of something more direct: a robust hands-off-the-NHS message to "zealous free-marketeers" with "loads of swearing in it" (though perhaps not as much as one might expect given the subject matter and the fact that this is the man who wrote 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck').

In typically self-deprecating fashion, Rhys refers to his "melodramatic synth-pop power ballad" as a "heartfelt if feeble attempt" to pay tribute to the work of NHS staff - but, given that it doesn't appear on his latest LP Babelsberg and all profits go to Welsh NHS charities, there is every possibility of it making a significant impact.

Also marking the NHS's 70th birthday, the Guardian's Alexandra Topping has spoken to some of the staff to whom 'No Profit In Pain' is dedicated. Their compassion and devotion to the job are abundantly evident, and the article, like Rhys' song, underlines the immense value of free-to-access healthcare.

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