15 March 2009

Music to Dig By: This Heat, ‘SPQR’

This Heat are/were an experimental music group from Brixton. Formed in 1975, they bridge the gap between progressive rock, punk, and post-punk. I love their angular, confrontational industrial sound.

Download: This Heat, 'SPQR'

‘SPQR’* uses Rome and its icons (straight roads, slavery, and Romulus’ betrayal of his brother) as metaphors for our own modern imperial obsessions. The whole album brims with anger and fear of Cold War nuclear annihilation. In 3.5 minutes, the song exposes the cruelty and deceit underlying Rome’s empire more honestly than anything I got in years of Classics courses.

From the Youtubes: a cool fan video for the song, using footage from a 1930s attempt to film 'I Claudius', starring Charles Laughton.

*SPQR, for ‘The Senate and People of Rome’ is the official motto of the city of Rome, then and now.

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