Viral article sparks Durham City gig to break spell of loneliness

George Monbiot and Ewen McLennan
George Monbiot and Ewen McLennan
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A writer and musician have joined forces to show how music has the power to unite as part of this month’s Durham Book Festival.

Breaking The Spell of Loneliness is a collaboration between writer George Monbiot and musician Ewan McLennan, who seek to use music to highlight issues surrounding loneliness.

The album the pair have produced

The album the pair have produced

The project began with an article that journalist George wrote in The Guardian about the age of loneliness.

The article went viral, and several publishers asked him to write books about it.

But George had a different idea.

He approached Ewan – a musician whose work he greatly admired – and proposed a collaboration. Together they would write an album, a mixture of ballads and anthems, some sad, some stirring.

The album touches upon issues as varied as our relationship with nature, our capacity for altruism and co-operation, the politics that lie behind loneliness, and the ways people are together overcoming this issue.

Around the time of the album’s release, George and Ewan are performing a small number of special concerts.

George will narrate the show, describe the ideas behind the songs, and encourage members of the audience to engage with each other, both then and beyond the concert.

Meanwhile, Ewan will sing the songs and perform the music that has emerged from this innovative collaboration.

George said: “An epidemic is sweeping the world: an epidemic of loneliness.

“Never before have we, the supremely social mammal, been so isolated. The results are devastating: a collapse of common purpose, the replacement of civic life with a fug of consumerism, insecurity and alienation. We cannot carry on like this.”

l George Monbiot and Ewan McLennan will perform at The Miners Hall, Flass Street, Durham City on Wednesday, October 12, from 7pm. Tickets are £12 or £8 concessions from the Box Office on 03000 266600 or online here