The me of 2003 would probably have welcomed with naive joy the day when such a thing could happen, when the man who represented my own coming cultural revolution could mix, without any apparent irony or public comment, with such a woman on the biggest pop stage of the year. But that was before I knew how capitalism actually works, and before I knew how deep-rooted inequality still is, before I knew that this sort of "coming-together" is worse than a sham, is a dangerous counter-revolutionary diversion planned to convince the ITV1 audience that All Are Equal Now, that Cameron loves you all and knows precisely how you live just because he used to work for us, that pop can Unite The World, can single-handedly eliminate the massive institutionalised divisions and structural unfairness of British society. I would have longed for such a day. I was wrong. It has come and the Right are cawing with greater satisfaction than ever. It means less than fuck all, worse than fuck all. It's an indictment of pop as safety valve, as subtle means of papering over every crack in the Cameron doctrine.
I still think Dizzee has a far greater talent than most who are allowed to get where he is - but he really ought to use the platform he has far more politically, to find some way out of his own contradictions. He has dramatised Britain's culture wars with vicious accuracy in his videos - that for "Sirens" makes clear precisely who would freeze him out of his own country, however much they may now dress themselves up in that other Machine (and isn't that the aptest band name ever? Pretty much an admission that this is a reassertion of elite control by other means) but the harsh truth is that, when he takes that ITV1 stage, he is little more than a dancing monkey for those very forces. At the very least, KLF 1992 tactics were necessary. But back then both major parties were led by serious politicians, and pop could still do such things. Now Dizzee is what I always hoped he could be, and it's the only thing worse than nothing.
Calm Before the Storm or The Camera Loves Me. At least nobody could ever pretend that those two could ever co-exist. At least both are, in their own wholly opposed ways, resolutely anti-Cameron. At such a time that feels like the only thing that matters at all.