Thursday, March 31, 2011

today : for arts sake

Of course our government was going to decimate the arts. They hate the arts. But of course they would save the RSC, the ROH and the big London Ballet companies (from what I saw of the recent BBC documentary about the English National Ballet, it's run by a bunch of highly string incompetents). It's a bit like only saving Man Utd, Arsenal and Spurs. Or only supporting M&S and Tesco. The English National Opera has been spared because it has a business model 'still in development', They've only had since 1974. But they also have 'artistic ambition', which is shorthand for spending silly amounts of money on hand-beading 1000 custom made costumes for the chorus to wear for 8 performances.

I have nothing against opera or ballet. In fact I love both. What I do have a problem with is that things are still divided in terms of high and low culture. The old arts always win out, because to public schoolboys culture is ossified, backward looking and should only be consumed as a marker of status.

Tories always have a very good idea of the price of everything and the value of nothing. I doubt they have the mental capacity to appreciate art. After all, to have your soul stirred by an aria, an arpeggio or an aubade; first you have to have a soul.

Again, it is the ideological rather than the practical. What better example of unecessary state funding than money which supports something you don't understand and are suspicious of? The Arts, after all, deal in ambiguity, ideas and transformation. It's the opposite of Conservatism which panics if anything is less than simple, fixed and frightened of the future.

Local theatres closing, youth projects abandoned. These arty people, after all, should get proper jobs - like building million pound missiles so the politicians can act out their toy soldier fantasies in real life.

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