Cornwall has been the talk of the country, if not the world of late due to the G7 conference that took place between 11th-13th June. The media highlighted Cornwall’s natural beauty and further boosted to as why people flock to the county during the summer months. However, beneath the beauty is a county that is and has been struggling for a long time. Communities are being ripped apart by second homeowners, countless towns fall victim to drug issues, there is a huge lack of mental health support and in general, the county’s infrastructure is not fit for purpose.
Like a lot of places in the world that are surrounded by beauty there is a darker, often ignored side. This is something A Blaze Of Feather or Mickey Smith to his friends wanted to highlight with his latest single ‘County Lines’. As expected from the ever-impressive artist the single is a cinematic release that is expansive in sound.
Speaking on the track Mickey says:
“I wrote this song to voice some simple truth from my own experiences as a Cornish person. Environmentally Cornwall is raw & stunning but I also grew up here amongst some of the most deprived communities in the UK. Where local families struggle under the shadow of million pound second and third homes. The royal family alone owns a billion pound Cornish portfolio – while local working people can’t afford a home; schools can’t afford equipment; hospitals are at breaking point; the local industries are either on their knees or broken.
To find a path and make a life here is tough. As a kid you wrestle with that lack of hope and lack of opportunity, and then take that lack of confidence into adulthood. I have lost three close friends to suicide alone. It’s a tragically frequent theme in our communities. In an age of identity politics, Kernow’s ancient cultural roots feel so strong in a microcosm here but they are rarely celebrated or acknowledged beyond the Tamar.
You grow up literally being told your best crack at some kind of future is to leave. Now we see Cornwall being used to suit the PR campaign of a Tory government who have never shown a thread of genuine care for the fortunes of Kernow’s people. In my mind, if you’re going to take something from a place and its people, you should be giving something positive back.
This is just my way of saying yes, it’s beautiful and raw – I love it with all my heart and I am blessed to live here in so many ways – but let’s not pretend everything is rosy just because it looks pretty, there are many people struggling here too.”
It’s an incredibly poignant track that highlights the struggles and reality of a lot of people who live and work in Cornwall all year round. It vocalises the raw brutality that life in Cornwall can be, pulling away from the biscuit box idealistic framing. A Blaze Of Feather, a proud Cornishman continues to be an important voice that reminds people of the struggles those have in rural communities. Something world leaders and the wealthy need reminding of, this is not a playground, this is our home.
Listen\watch ‘County Lines’ here: