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Leeds anarcho-punks turn down £30k fee for Clarkson TV song use

Chumbawamba perform at the Rudolstadt-Festival in 2012, Schorle/Creative Commons

Retired Leeds anarcho-punk outfit Chumbawamba claim to have turned down a £30k offer for one of their songs to feature in a new TV show starring controversial presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

The band’s guitarist and vocalist Boff Whalley took to Twitter to describe the “satisfaction” the refusal had brought:

Whalley did not elaborate on the cause of the refusal, however Clarkson has been even more mired in controversy recently following a now-deleted diatribe in The Sun during which he called for Meghan Markle to be paraded through the streets naked and pelted with excrement.

Clarkson’s column was widely criticised for its racist and misogynistic nature and became the most complained-about piece of writing in the history of IPSO, with well over 20,000 complaints so far.

Chumbawamba championed women’s rights and anti-racism among a host of other causes during their career and were heavily involved with supporting the Miner’s Strike in 1984-5 and the Poll Tax Protests at the end of the eighties and early nineties.

The band are best-known for their 1997 hit Tubthumping, although they released 17 albums during a career that began when they formed in Burnley in 1982 before relocating to Leeds ahead of the release of their first album, 1986’s Live Aid protest Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records.

Whalley has so far not responded to requests over what song or show may be concerned. Clarkson, the former host of BBC Top Gear, most recently had some success with his Amazon reality format Clarkson’s Farm, which saw him attempt to make a success of a Cotswolds Farm.

Chumbawamba announced their retirement after 30 years in 2012, although they still remain active in the Leeds creative and political scene. Guitarist and vocalist Dunstan Bruce founded independent film company Dandy Films following the band’s demise, while vocalist Alice Nutter has had a number of plays performed at Leeds Playhouse and become an occasional guest on BBC Question Time.

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