Lofi boriswave – what timeline is this?

By Alex Mazey

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It’s a cold, Tuesday morning, when I awake from apocalyptic dreams and reaching towards the darkness of the nightstand – now, holding the handset – the candle-light screen of my addiction towards my face, I finally began the daily ritual, starting with the creed of Samsung, the liturgy of Facebook. It is through the monotony of this process, cycling through the same five or so apps, where I discover ‘lo fi boriswave beats to relax/get Brexit done to’.

It is an unusual sensation to live amongst the manifestations of the 21st Century, whereby we are greeted each morning, almost immediately and without reprise, by the ideological commodities of our world, forever referential and forever proliferated. This latest music video, posted by the Conservative Party as an ironic, satirical take on the success of YouTube’s ‘Lofi hip hop mix – Beats to Relax/Study to’ features visuals of Boris Johnson, sitting against a train window of cartoonish, anime appeal – in imitation of the popular Lofi aesthetic.

Internet culture journalist, Chris Stokel-Walker, writing for the New Statesman, described this latest manifestation as a feature of Conservative’s broader approach to the General Election. He writes: ‘Between the canny co-opting of dank memes, shitposting in spamming out deliberately poorly designed election posters on Twitter and this latest video, the Conservatives are embracing the oddest corners of internet culture.’

What’s fascinating about the Conservative’s approach here isn’t necessarily the satirical – finger-on-the-pulse of culture – edgy appeal to a digitally vigilant electorate, but rather the almost instantaneous attack by a media figurehead on Vaporwave as a thriving subculture. Chris Stokel-Walker writes, ‘But like many memes, vaporwave has been associated with the alt-right […]’ with seemingly disingenuous phrasing that places Vaporwave into a landscape of dreaded political ambiguity. Nothing could be further from the truth, obviously, with the anthems of the Vaporwave genre often existing as post-Marxist critique. Essentially then, in an attempt to take a cheap-swipe at Boris Johnson, the author is prepared to drown a community of allies in the figurative Fiji Water.

Imagine that: an entire community wrongfully associated with the alt-right because Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for a 71-minute long vanity project that may have achieved – somewhere along the line – a good laugh.

This is why we can’t have nice things.