slowthai is releasing his debut album in May. It’s called “Nothing Great About Britain”. I’ve included the albums cover art below. I’ve been around Ty (stylised as Thai now for obvious reason) for like 10 years now and I’ve had a hand in directing all his music videos from when nobody was waiting for them to come out.

That building in the background is being knocked down soon, probably for fancier new flats. The current tenants will be rehoused elsewhere… An ever present presence in my time growing up in this town, I’ve always had to walk past it to get to the town centre. Was a whole situation just trying to get this shoot done. The people managing the whole situation thought that what we were doing was demeaning to the people who lived there, who they had just told days before that they would have to be moved. This cover seems like a great way to immortalise it but opinions aye.

From what I’ve heard of the album, it is Thai himself personified. Its 1 of 1 and it sounds like it too. You can hear all his influences, all his moods. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s warm, aspirational and sad at times. It’s got many stories and anecdotes of growing up working class in this waning empire called Great Britain. Northampton specifically. No wonder it’s been compared to seminal British coming of age albums way before it was announced.

You might wonder why we or Thai make a point to mention Northampton or “NN” so much. It’s not like an “rep your area” type thing, it might be but more importantly it’s the context to the story. Its one of the biggest towns in the UK and it’s situated almost right in the middle of the map. It’s got all different types of people living from different backgrounds, from immigrants to relatives of the royal family. It’s the perfect representation of Britain in my experience.

Still, I don’t know how many times Northampton has made ‘top 10 worst places to live’ lists in this country in the last 10–15 years but it’s frequented them a bit. We even had the famous ugliest building in Britain for a time. It is kinda shit at times to be honest, and we’ll be the first to say so whilst wearing its two N’s like a badge. We love it still.

I feel like that’s at the heart of what Thai means by ‘Nothing Great about Britain’. It’s a loaded statement sure, but it’s more than that. It means that he accepts the state of things objectively but that doesn’t have to come at the cost of the love he has for a place that has helped make him who he is. The memories, the people and the community are enough of a reason to shout about it.



Director @ THE REST

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store