Watchmen and V for Vendetta author Alan Moore is often described, accurately or not, as a bit of a recluse. There are some subjects he would prefer not to speak about, let alone sing about.
But sing is what Moore does—sort of—on this new single released in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In a Bill Callahan-like sing-speak over spare acoustic guitars (courtesy British rocker Joe Brown), Moore sketches a few grim English scenes of desperate citizens, each seemingly within an inch of either dying of their circumstances or snapping and turning murderous.
The title presumably comes from George Orwell’s essay “Decline of the English Murder,” in which Orwell mused on several grisly stories of murder popular in the English press. The anarchist Moore, for his part, seems to be more concerned with the “murders” that come in more subtle forms, closing by suggesting that “Your average psychopath at least kills with a hammer or brick / And not with greed or incompetence.” The final line reads like it might be a threat: “After two or three years maybe they'll express remorse.”
And why is Moore taking to the mic today? “Remember, remember, it’s the fifth of November,” as Moore’s masked crusader V would say, in honor of Guy Fawkes Day. As Pitchfork points out, over 5,000 people are also set to reenact the final scene of V for Vendetta in honor of the same occasion. (The activists, organized by the V-mask-wearing group Anonymous, have included a “legal disclaimer” reassuring that they “will NOT blow up Parliament.”)