Russel Oliver

merch .jpg

Russel Oliver

Joe and I became friends through the usual contamination when circles cross. We quickly realised that we were (and remain) on opposite sides of the political spectrum - with Joe firmly of the Left, and myself of the Right - for instance - Joe is a socialist whilst I'm a capitalist. There has never been any animosity between us, as we've lost night hours to discussing issues of the day, even though we often disagree - we enjoy the conversation. Perhaps that's why Joe asked me to produce a painting for the song ‘Mercedes Marxist’ which has been subsequently dropped from IDLES forthcoming album, ‘Joy as an act of Resistance.'

The song, as Joe explained it, expressed his inner turmoil as a "lapsed Marxist" whom engages in frivolous consumerism - specifically an unquenchable thirst for expensive trainers. 

My painting employs Marxist cliché poster-boy Che Guevara, mixed with the screaming and melting Nazi face from the climax of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ - a portrayal of ideological meltdown, green with sickness and of capital (money). The background “revolutionary” red and green clash in opposition (as on the colour wheel). The eyes become the titular Mercedes insignia, and Che's beret now sports a Nike and Apple corporate skull and crossbones configuration in a clash of ideology, principals and values.