Damon Albarn says Britain is “emotionally messed up”: “Our mental health is not good”

The Blur and Gorillaz frontman discussed the state of the nation with his The Good, The Bad & The Queen bandmate, Paul Simonon

Damon Albarn has called Britain “emotionally messed up” in a new interview.

The musician released a new album with supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen earlier this year, called ‘Merrie Land’. The record, according to Albarn, is a series of “observations about a country that is in a period of massive upheaval and uncertainty.”

Speaking to The Big Issue, he discussed the state of the nation with his bandmate and The Clash bassist Paul Simonon. Calling modern Britain “emotionally messed up”, Albarn also described it as “fraught, disturbed, mentally ill, in many ways.”

He continued: “And that is not just individuals, it is the collective. Our mental health is not good. Everyone is perplexed and confused and indecisive and difficult and belligerent.”

When asked how music could help “heal a divided nation”, Albarn replied: “The problem is that mainstream media don’t allow politics and activism on the airwaves.”

Simonon said he was confused why the authorities and government don’t understand the importance of education and funding for the arts, citing music as something people from different backgrounds can be united by. “What are some of the great things that have come out of this country?” he said. “The Specials was a good representation of a multicultural society. In this country, we have been fortunate to find a common ground. Music was one of those elements.”

Albarn added that the closure of youth centres “is criminal”, saying the number of such spaces and art schools is “such a litmus test of the mental health of a country.”

“It is not dealing with poverty,” he explained. “But it is dealing with the poverty of the imagination. And that is, in parts, as dramatic as all the other multiple manifestations of poverty.”

Earlier this month, the Blur and Gorillaz star spoke out about the need for music to be more political. “It needs to [be more political],” he said. “It really, really needs to. The selfie music is not sustainable.”

His comments followed similar ones he made in 2015 when he lambasted current musicians for only talking about themselves, “not what’s happening out there.”