Tuesday, April 9, 2013
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Thatcher had profound effect on popular culture
Margaret Thatcher was not just a political titan, she was a cultural icon skewered by comedians, transformed into a puppet and played to Oscar-winning perfection by Meryl Streep.
With her uncompromising politics, ironclad certainty, bouffant hairstyle and ever-present handbag, the late British leader was grist for comedians, playwrights, novelists and songwriters whether they loved her or as was more often the case hated her. To the satirical puppeteers of popular 1980s TV series “Spitting Image,” Thatcher was a cigar-smoking bully, a butcher with a bloody cleaver, a domineering leader ruling over her docile Cabinet.
Pop was political in Thatcher’s day, as the bitter social divisions of the 1980s sparked an angry musical outpouring.
“I see no joy, I see only sorrow, I see no chance of your bright new tomorrow,” sang The Beat, urging Thatcher to resign in “Stand Down Margaret.”
In “Tramp the Dirt Down,” Elvis Costello imagined the day of Thatcher’s death: “When they finally put you in the ground, I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.”
Former Smiths frontman Morrissey went even further, lyrically fantasizing about “Margaret on the Guillotine.”
Musicians including Paul Weller and Billy Bragg formed the Red Wedge movement to campaign against Thatcher and for the Labour Party in the 1987 election. But for some later musicians, Thatcher was a more positive figure.
Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell who sported a Union Jack mini-dress as part of the 1990s’ girl group tweeted Monday: “Thinking of our 1st Lady of girl power, Margaret Thatcher, a green grocer’s daughter who taught me anything is possible.” (Source: CTV News)