James Blunt writes stinging open letter to 'classist gimp' Chris Bryant MP for criticising Britain's arts culture of privileged musicians

The acerbic singer-songwriter called Labour's shadow culture minister a 'prejudice wazzock' in a stinging response to his recent assertions

Jenn Selby
Monday 19 January 2015 15:26

Who knew Eddie Redmayne winning an award could ever catalyse an acerbic pop attack on a politician?

“I am delighted that Eddie Redmayne won [a Golden Globe for best actor], but we can’t just have a culture dominated by Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt and their ilk,” Chris Byrant, Labour’s shadow culture minister, told the Guardian of his concerns about the lack of people from diverse backgrounds representing the UK in the arts.

Not one to take anything (At all. Ever.) lying down, James Blunt decided to respond to the mention of his name in a strongly worded open letter published by the Guardian.

Addressing Byrant as ‘a prejudiced wazzock’ and a ‘classless gimp’, he argues that his privileged boarding school beginnings hindered, not helped his career, and insists that he was taught the “only four” guitar chords he knows by a friend, not an expensive tutor.

“Every step of the way, my background has been AGAINST me succeeding in the music business,” he wrote (yes, using capital letters for added emphasis on the AGAINST).

“And when I have managed to break through, I was STILL scoffed at for being too posh for the industry.

“And then you come along, looking for votes, telling working class people that posh people like me don’t deserve it, and that we must redress the balance. But it is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my shit songs, and my plummy accent.”

“Perhaps it protected me from your kind of narrow-minded, self-defeating, lead-us-to-a-dead-end, remove-the-‘G’-from-‘GB’ thinking, which is to look at others’ success and say, ‘It’s not fair,’” he concludes, signing off with a terse, “Up yours, James Cucking Funt.”

Bryant has since replied with an open letter of his own , asking “James Cucking Funt” not to be so “blooming precious”.

The same “James Cucking Funt” who accused Damon Albarn of disguising his supposed upper class roots last year.

“I was just the only one who didn't hide my accent,” he told The Sun.

“I mean, come on, Damon Albarn, he's right up there. He's got an orchard full of plums in his mouth and a silver spoon stuck up his arse.”

Albarn was actually raised between the not particularly plummy areas of Leytonstone in East London and Colchester in Essex. He met Blur guitarist Graham Coxon at Stanway Comprehensive School, where they both attended.

In stark contrast, Blunt, a former army captain, was raised between Germany, Cyprus and England as the son of a colonel in the British Army Air Corps. He went to private boarding school and had his university education funded by the army, which meant he was obliged to serve four years in the armed forces.

Unfortunately, he left the army in 2002 to start what has been described by many as a “musical career” and by others as “vapid aural terrorism”.

And he's been issuing stinging responses to criticism ever since.

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