Photography: Robin Clewley /

The end of the decade doesn’t feel too different to when it began. Protest. Helplessness. Reality.

Of all the changes brought about by David Cameron and Nick Clegg in five bitter years, raising tuition fees is probably the least devastating when you weigh the receipts up against the body count. But, for me, it was the first moment in my life where I’d been directly affected by a democracy I wasn’t old enough to influence. A democracy where I’d eventually be granted four votes on a national scale before the decade was out. Three of which I’d be on the losing side. The fourth is still in the phase of protest. It’ll switch to helplessness on the evening of 12th December. The early hours that follow deliver the reality.

Being told that I would be the first cohort to pay tripled tuition fees was the most forcible lesson I’d had of ‘getting what you’re given’. It was a mantra that typified much of those first five years of the decade. Tuition fees were just the first incision, the entry point before many vital organs of society were removed. So many more were to get what they were given, not what they deserved. All with much more severe consequences than carrying inflated university debt. Many protested. We looked on helpless. Then we saw the reality. Austerity bred the chaos that unravelled in the five years that followed. When you push a community to breaking point it will start to point fingers within. Then the irreparable damage is done.

“Bravery will always have a home in Bido Lito! for the decade to come” Elliot Ryder

Bravery is the key. It’s the source of power the assumes control without reason. For 10 years, Bido Lito! has been a chronicle of bravery, platforming/celebrating/holding up those who choose to assert themselves through music and art. Those who’ve taken control of their situation, those who’ve completely lost themselves in it. It takes an unrivalled bravery to formulate a public facing expression of protest, of helplessness, of reality, of escape.

This issue, like the 105 that have run through the decade, is packed full of bravery. Bravery is Beija Flo’s expression of physicality and the world that exists beyond the limitation of form. Bravery is ASOK following emotive intuition; equally for Lo Five in the spiritual sense. As noted by Simon Hughes, bravery is taking ownership of addiction and seeing that circumstances can be reversed. This in particular is something to take note of when feeling the strains of the political climate, the world beyond the socialist bubble of Liverpool.

Bravery is taking back control of language, of image, of expression. Taking it away from those who’ve weaponised its use. Bravery will always have a home in Bido Lito! for the decade to come. This won’t change. But, on 12th December? Let’s hope it’s a time for real change.

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