Last Wednesday I was delighted to host two constituents in Brussels. They were James and Meriel Buxton, prominent members of the Countryside Alliance in Leicestershire, where they farm Dexter cattle, keep horses, and (of course) hunt.
We took tea in the parliament (or rather coffee — Brussels tea is pretty bad). Then Joe and Lydia showed them around the parliament building (to see how their money had been spent), and then settled them into the Hemicycle gallery to hear part of a plenary debate which (appropriately) was about CAP reform.
Around 6:30 I’d decided to take them to the screening of a film in the parliament, “Heavy Metal in Baghdad”. It was to be an inspiring story of four young Iraqi musicians who had been determined to follow their musical inspiration and realise their dreams, despite the repression of Sadaam’s régime. It seemed a worthy cause. These young men were fans, it seems, (and imitators) of a band called Metallica — whose main contribution to the arts appears to be the elaborate design of their logo.
I also wanted to go to support our ECR leader Jan Zahradil MEP, who had organised the screening. And I thought it would be a good event to ease our guests into the evening.
I was appalled by the film. The young men screamed their heads off, veins standing out in their necks and threatening to burst. They gyrated and contorted their bodies in jerks and histrionic gestures suggesting late-stage paranoid psychosis. They made vile, obscene and insolent gestures at the audience. Their performance was suffused with a repellent, mindless, narcissistic egoism.
And the noise! No relation to music. A relentless, head-banging beat, like a steam-hammer operator with a migraine.
I was put in mind of an eighteenth century Lunatick Asylum. Bedlam. No, worse than Bedlam. It was a vision of Hell. What sort of people pay to see this stuff?
I bore it manfully for nearly ten minutes, but then I could take no more. I scooped up our guests and took them down to the relative serenity of the Members’ Bar, for a quiet drink and some sensible conversation.
Leaving the P&O Ferry in Dover the next day, the first thing I did was to tune the car radio to Classic FM. Bliss.