The Last Dinner Party address viral controversy over ‘cost of living crisis’ comment

The Last Dinner Party  (Cal Mcintyre)
The Last Dinner Party (Cal Mcintyre)
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Indie band The Last Dinner Party have responded to the controversy over their comments about the cost of living crisis, which they say were “removed of context, tone, and intention”.

The London-based five-piece’s debut album Prelude to Ecstasy topped the British charts when it was released in February.

In an article published yesterday in The Times about the dearth of bands at this year’s Brit Awards, the paper’s chief rock critic Will Hodgkinson cited The Last Dinner Party as a rare success story and quoted their lead singer Abigail Morris as saying: “People don’t want to listen to postpunk and hear about the cost of living crisis any more.”

Hodgkinson then observed: “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.”

A screenshot of that section of the article swiftly went viral on social media. However, it has since emerged that Hodgkinson was in fact speaking to the band’s bassist, Georgia Davies. The Times has published a correction and apologised for their mistake.

Hodkingson also apologised on his personal X/Twitter account, writing: “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.”

The Last Dinner Party celebrating their debut album topping the UK chart (PA)
The Last Dinner Party celebrating their debut album topping the UK chart (PA)

In a statement published on the band’s X/Twitter account, Davies 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”

In a five-star review of Prelude to Ecstacy, The Independent’s chief albums critic Helen Brown wrote: “Most musicians who came of age during the pandemic are hushed and introspective, but The Last Dinner Party came out calling for ‘an end of the world orgy’ – and Prelude to Ecstasy gleefully delivers.”