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The Last Dinner Party respond after ‘cost of living crisis’ comments are ‘taken out of context’ online

'The venues that gave us our careers in this industry are closing at terrifying rates because of rising cost of living and corporate greed'.

By Nick Reilly

The Last Dinner Party
The Last Dinner Party perform live at the Rolling Stone UK Awards (Picture: Aaron Parsons)

The Last Dinner Party have responded after an “out of context” quote about the cost of living crisis went viral online and saw the group at the centre of much discussion.

Yesterday, a section from a recent article by The Times – titled “Is there a future for bands? Why I fear for rock’n’roll…” – went viral on Twitter/X.

READ MORE: How The Last Dinner Party became the band on everyone’s lips in 2023

 “How to explain, then, the success of The Last Dinner Party, who have roared out of nowhere to a No 1 album, in the process winning the BBC Sound of 2024 and a rising star award at the Brits this weekend? Their theatrical escapism may be part of it,” wrote writer Will Hodgkinson.

The piece went on to quote singer Abigail Morris, who said: “People don’t want to listen to post-punk and hear about the cost of living crisis any more.”

Hodgkinson then noted that the singer had attended the “the liberal boarding school Bedales” in Hampshire “where fees can be £43,000 a year”. “The cost of living crisis probably isn’t a huge issue for Morris,” he wrote.

Morris faced intense backlash for the comments, with many accusing the star of being “out of touch” at a time when working-class artists are facing the financial pressures of touring and being a musician.

Now, the group has responded in a statement from bassist Georgia Davies – who explained that the quote had actually come from her. “I can say with confidence that Abigail never said the quote that has been attributed to her in the article that’s going around,” she said.

“The comment was lifted from an interview we did six months ago, removed of context, tone and intention, and it’s now been shoehorned into a new article about something totally different.”

She continued: “The context in which I originally mentioned the cost of living crisis is extremely important, and it’s disappointing to us that it’s been presented in this way.

“What was said was in relation to people connecting with theatrical music as a form of escapism from the brutality of our current political climate, which is in a state of national emergency.”

Davies went on: “The speed of our journey as a band and the privilege we have (personally and as a result of being signed to a major label) has not been lost on us.

“The venues that gave us our careers in this industry are closing at terrifying rates because of rising cost of living and corporate greed. Without these venues there would be no TLDP, so it is of course something we feel extraordinarily passionate about. It is becoming impossible for artists from working class and other marginalised backgrounds to be heard.”

Davies went on to explain that the group had been working on a project with The Music Venue Trust “to call for protection for independent venues and artists, but more on that another time”.

She concluded: “I completely understand why people are upset. It would upset me to read that. But I just wanted to clarify that Abi did not ever say that, and it is entirely out of line with what we believe. Love Georgia and the rest of TLDP.”

Hodgkinson has also said he is “extremely sorry”, while Morris added on her own Instagram stories: “Firstly, the comment is a misquote from Georgia in the context of a conversation on post-punk and the way it approaches politics through sprechgesang.

“We were discussing our music in contrast to this style as a more theatrical, escapist approach to the social climate.”

She further explained that the cost of living crisis “is a national emergency”, adding: “We’re living in incredibly frightening times where it’s getting harder and harder for artists from marginalised backgrounds to make it in this industry.

“The critical under-funding of music and arts in schools across this country as well as the threat of small independent music venues being closed are topics incredibly important to TLDP and we want to take on the responsibility of using our position and the privileges that have been afforded to us to make a tangible difference.”

Morris concluded: “I’ve never denied the privilege I have which comes from attending a school that has a well-funded arts program. I completely understand why this, coupled with the misattributed quote, has upset people but I just want to make it absolutely clear what my stance is on this.”