Letter: Censorship has no place in pop

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your recent article by Jason Bennetto (7 July), concerning Chief Constable Keith Hellawell's perfectly preposterous plan to "police" popular music, expressed the specious notion that the Shamen's 1992 No 1, "Ebeneezer Goode" was some sort of elegy to ecstasy. It was not, and nor did it contain the lyric which was quoted.

From our perspective, the song was a satire on certain attitudes then prevalent amongst the mainstream UK dance community, which lampooned some "ravers" and the commercialised, exploitative demi-monde which they inhabited (a kind of Carry On Raving, if you like). Some had lost the plot, and were not capable of recognising that they were simply marketing targets for drug dealers.

Many had sadly forgotten or just didn't know what was positive about rave culture and were only concerned about how many pills they could consume in a night. Ridicule of these negative aspects (rather than glorification) was one of our aims, hopefully to encourage a degree of self-reflection.

The difference between our own views regarding the lyrical content of this track and those of Mr Hellawell perfectly illustrate the impracticality of the censorship system he suggests, since obscenity, like beauty, is surely in the mind of the beholder.

THE SHAMEN

London E15

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