Alan Moore whose mask design is an Occupy symbol, likens today's stark economic divides to work of killer in his debut record on the anti-establishment label.
Alan Moore, the comic book author whose stylised Guy Fawkes-type mask from his V for Vendetta series became a global symbol for Occupy protesters, has cemented his support for the group’s aims by writing and recording a record for the UK arm of the movement.
The Decline of English Murder is a gloomy and at times opaque ballad that likens the stark economic inequities challenged by Occupy to the work of a killer. It is released by Occupation Records, the musical spin-off from the protest group, which has already collaborated with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and members of Massive Attack, among others.
Moore, 58, is one of the most famous names in modern comics. The bulk of his titles, which include Watchmen From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the bulk of which, have been made into Hollywood films of varying quality, many of them in turn disowned by the irascible writer.
Moore spoke last year of his surprise and pride at seeing the masks of a grinning, rouge-cheeked Fawkes figure, which he and the V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd devised in 1982, being worn by demonstrators before they became a fixture of Occupy protests, which spread around the UK, US and many other countries in autumn last year. Moore was at pains to maintain his distance from Occupy, saying his own activism was limited to “a good moan in the local pub”.
The writer did, however, visit the Occupy camp that set up next to St Paul’s cathedral from last October until authorities cleared it away in February. In an interview a fortnight ago with the Occupied Times, a publication that grew out of the London movement, Moore spoke of his dismay at a political and economic system that concentrates power in a tiny number of people and praised mass action as a tool for change.
The song, with Moore half-speaking, half-singing his words to a musical backing by Joe Brown, is as mournful as you might expect from something that namechecks a motorway service station near Preston in its first line. It offers a pair of bleak vignettes: first a presumably homeless young woman at the service station, drying her hair in the washroom before nursing a cup of tea for an hour; then an older man who dies in a cold spell because he could not afford his heating bill. These are contrasted with the wealth of City bankers, with the final lines:
“Your average psychopath at least kills with a hammer or brick / And not with greed and incompetence / And after two or three years maybe they’ll express remorse.”
While this is Moore’s first record under his own name he has dabbled in music in the past, releasing a 1983 single as a member of The Sinister Ducks, a trio also featuring a member of Goth pioneers Bauhaus.
Tying in further with the Moore theme, activists from the Anonymous hacking group are organising a march on parliament for Monday by protesters wearing the trademark mask.
Moore’s views contrast with those of his US peer, Frank Miller, author of the celebrated Batman title Dark Knight Returns. Miller last year called the US Occupy movement “nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists” who would do better enlisting in the military.
In his Occupy Times interview, Moore is withering about Miller’s views, saying: “I understand Frank Miller stated his regret that he was now too old to fight alongside soldiers in Afghanistan, but said that if he’d been a younger man he would have been the first to have his ‘finger on the trigger’. Presumably he didn’t hear about the first Gulf war, the conflict in the Balkans or the many other opportunities he could have had to do the right thing and enlist.”
• This article was amended on 5 November 2012 to correct the names of Occupation Records and the Occupied Times, which were wrongly given as Occupy Records and the Occupy Times in the original version.