Orator, entertainer, rabble-rouser, negotiator, pamphleteer, the fabled ‘big-nosed bard from Barking’, Billy Bragg is many things. A regular contributor to the national debate as TV pundit and newspaper columnist, he continues to sharpen his pen as a writer, and his first book, the considered, wide-ranging treatise on English identity the Progressive Patriot, opened up a whole new vista of possibility for a man who never stops engaging with all the trouble in the world. Whether it’s unionized workers, constitutional reform, bankers’ bonuses, illegal wars or the undemocratic commandeering of a portable toilet backstage at a festival, Billy Bragg will help fight your corner.
To quote his enduring live favorite ‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears’: The world falls apart, but some things stay in place. That optimism lives on in ‘Tomorrow’s Going to Be a Better Day’ from Tooth and Nail, since enshrined in a book of his selected lyrics, A Lover Sings, published by Faber in 2015.