Ray Davies, one of my musical heroes dating back to the Kinks half a century ago, always championed working-class struggles, going back to “Dead End Street.” Chrissie Hynde, frontwoman for the Pretenders, has long been in the forefront of animal rights and anti-fur protests. So it’s not exactly shocking that their daughter, Natalie Hynde, 29, was arrested last summer in a unique anti-fracking protest in England.
The 32-year-old, along with 55-year-old Simon Medhurst, had superglued themselves together around the drill site’s gate on July 31 to create a “striking and symbolic” media image, according to the BBC, to raise awareness about fracking (a technique to fracture shale rock and retrieve natural gasses within). Hynde and Medhurst both denied wrongdoing.
Despite their claims, a judge said the pair “went beyond reasonable freedom of speech.” Furthermore, district magistrate William Ashworth said that Hynde and Medhurst did beset the site “in the true meaning of the word” because they had blocked access to it. The blockade cost the drilling firm Cuadrilla £5,000 ($8,300). Hynde was given a twelve-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £400 and a £15 “victim surcharge”; Medhurst was told to pay £200 and a £20 victim surcharge.
But it could have been differently disruptive: Hynde said her original plan was to dig a tunnel at the site. Instead, she tried superglue because it was easier. “I wanted it to look peaceful, with the hands around the gate, and superglue seemed fast,” she said. “I hadn’t done it either, so I thought it would be a good thing to try.” She did not know how long the fixative would hold. “If it did [obstruct access to the site], then great,” Hynde said. “That wasn’t the intention.”
Hynde, a longtime activist, said that simply waving a placard this time wouldn’t get them anywhere. She was arrested one year ago after chaining herself to a tree in a protest against construction of a controversial new road.
Davies and Hynde never married. There are many famous offspring of rock stars and models, actors, actresses, even writers, but I can’t think of another daughter of two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members (let me know if you do).
Here’s an excerpt from Natalie Hynde’s piece in The Guardian:
Getting arrested for taking part in direct action at Balcombe was the most liberating experience I’ve ever had. Nothing I’ve ever done in my life has made me feel so empowered and alive.
Anyone can Google the “List of the Harmed” or look at the Shalefield Stories detailing what’s happened to people in the US as a result of fracking—the nosebleeds, the cancers, the spontaneous abortions in livestock, the seizures and silicosis in the worker’s lungs. Not to mention the farming revenue lost from sick and dying cattle. When you have exhausted all other channels of democratic process—written letters, gone on marches and signed petitions—direct action seems the only way left to get your voice heard…
A lot of us want the moratorium that was lifted in 2012 to be reinstated—due to new evidence and significant Royal Society/RIE recommendations not having been followed. We’ve already had two earthquakes in Blackpool and the property market in the town has tanked as a result of the fracking. In the exploratory drilling process, the range of chemicals, including hydrochloric acid, pose a massive threat if they escape from the well. All wells leak eventually—6% of gas wells leak immediately and 50% of all gas wells leak within 15 years….
We need an outright ban on fracking—or at the very least, a moratorium.
Read Next: Chris Hayes profiles the Exxon CEO suing to keep fracking out of his backyard.