The Last Dinner Party Address Backlash Over Their “Cost Of Living Crisis” Comment

Abigail Morris

The Last Dinner Party Address Backlash Over Their “Cost Of Living Crisis” Comment

Abigail Morris

The Last Dinner Party haven’t been famous for long, but they’re already dealing with their first PR crisis. The London band formed in 2021, reached the UK top 10 with their debut single “Nothing Matters,” and released their lush and ornate self-titled debut last month. (Last week, we posted Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s cover of “Nothing Matters.”) The Last Dinner Party are already a huge, hyped-up deal in the UK, where their album debuted at #1, and they’re making inroads in the US. Their quick success is probably why a British critic recently sought to make an example of them.

Yesterday the British Times posted an article from music critic Will Hodgkinson about the post-Brexit UK economic crisis and the way that it’s hitting bands. The piece focuses on the career obstacles faced by bands who make angry, cantankerous music, and it posits the success of the Last Dinner Party as the exception to prevailing trends. It also includes a very damning quote from lead singer Abigail Morris: “People don’t want to listen to postpunk and hear about the cost of living crisis anymore.” Hodgkinson follows that quote with some commentary of his own: “Having attended the liberal boarding school Bedales, where fees can be £43,000 a year, the cost of living crisis probably isn’t a huge issue for Morris.”

That’s a bad look! When the article was published yesterday, a since-deleted tweet included a screengrab of that paragraph, and it went viral. This morning, the Last Dinner Party responded. On the band’s Twitter, bassist Georgia Davies posted a statement defending Abigail Morris, claiming that she “never said the quote that has been attributed to her” and that it was taken from an old interview and “removed of context, tone, and intention.” (It’s not spelled out, but it seems that Davies is claiming that she, not Morris, is the one who made that comment.) Davies says that the Last Dinner Party are very aware of their privilege and that they’re working to address the impact that the UK’s financial problems have had on smaller venues. Here’s what she wrote:

I can say with confidence that Abigail never said the quote that has been attributed to her in the article that’s going around.

The comment was lifted from an interview we did six months ago, removed of context, tone, and intention, and now it’s been shoehorned into a new article about something totally different. The context in which I originally mentioned the cost of living crisis is extremely important, and it’s disappointing 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.

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 of course it is something we feel extraordinarily passionate about. It is becoming impossible for artists from working class and other marginalised backgrounds to be heard. For the past few months we’ve been working on something with the Music Venues Trust to call for protection for independent venues and artists, but more on that another time.

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

For his part, the Times critic Will Hodgkinson has apologized for singling out the Last Dinner Party. On Twitter, Hodgkinson says, “Yesterday I wrote a piece about the crisis hitting bands that – unfairly- used a quote from The Last Dinner Party from an interview I did with them late last year. Now they’re getting a load of grief about it. They don’t deserve it and I’m extremely sorry.”

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