THE conflicting worlds of art and politics brought the Happy Mondays dancing frontman to the University of Bolton this week.
Mark “Bez” Berry best known for shaking maracas in the early nineties — and now fighting fracking in Salford — has not taken the traditional route into art and politics.
But it was exactly that culture clash which brought the former Happy Monday’s dancing frontman to the University of Bolton’s Creative Degree Show 2014 this week.
While protesting against fracking at the Barton Moss camp site in Salford, Bez met University of Bolton Fine Art student, Andy Smith from Westhoughton.
Mr Smith, aged 55, is in the final year of his degree at the university.
For his personal project, Andy focused on the concept of social and political consent. That took him to the Barton Moss site with local campaign group Bolton Against Fracking.
After speaking with Bez, the popstar turned politician said he would love to see the artwork once completed.
Speaking about the work, Bez said: “This picture really captures what it was like on the camp, it has caught the mood just perfect.
“It has got everything, the protesters, the vibe of the place, even the police.”
Mr Smith said: “Bez is at the forefront of the newly established Reality Party, and we share the view that a disenfranchised public does not benefit political health, and passionately believe that change must come from greater engagement and consensual debate at ground level.”
Bez is set to stand as an MP for Salford at the next general election.
He added: “We need a revolution and there’s no good shouting about it when you’re not actually doing anything.
“So I’m getting involved and living what I preach.
“I’ve realised that if you want to do something about things you’ve got to get take stuff on and get stuck in.”
Fracking — short for “hydraulic fracturing” — is the process of getting shale gas from deep underground.
The process is controversial and has led to protests, with environmentalists fearing the technique could cause small earth tremors, water contamination and environmental damage.