is off her meds (again):
In the arts, state investment can be counted out in gold too: better still, it infuses everything that brings pleasure. Only life under the Taliban is untouched by music, storytelling and eye-opening imagery, broadcast or live, designed into everything around us.
Trouble is, as David Thompson points out
, the sort of 'art' that State subsidy encourages is 'eye popping' for all the wrong reasons...
The Arts Council has lost a third of its funds, obliged to cut deep. Until now it has swallowed hard, and axed some projects altogether while investing selectively in the best. But cut any deeper and they hit a tipping point where regional deserts destroy the seed-corn for the great national institutions.
I'm inclined to agree with Tim Worstall
here, this is utter nonsense. Polly is calling for "privatisation of profits and socialisation of losses" here..
Why were the humanities singled out for zero university funds? Now 16% fewer are taking humanities degrees, as Michael Gove downgrades anything that sniffs of arts, his e-bacc leaving them out altogether. A generation of children risk having little experience of art, music and drama.
It's because we simply don't need more humanities graduates. We've already got enough to fill the 'B' Ark.
This is a plunge back into the arts freezer of the 80s and 90s.
Ah, yes. I remember The Great Arts Holocaust of the 80s & 90s, when all we could do is stay home, watching a blank wall or reading the backs of cornflake packets, with only the sound of the wind and rain to cheer us...
As then, ministers claim that philanthropy is the answer, but it never was. In the US, relying on donors deadens the arts, filling their boards with the conservative-minded, failing to stimulate experiment and imagination – as only independent funding can.
If 'independent funding' (by which she means taxpayer money, and if you think that's truly
independent, I've got a bridge to sell you...) is required, it's because no-one wants to pay to see it.
As for the future, what might persuade this government of the value of the arts - financial and spiritual - is a loud public demand that our cultural assets, live and broadcast, are not squandered.
Here's my message to government - go ahead, squander away. I've seen all the pickled cows and giant blue roosters I ever want to see.
I do not like opera much. I like Pink Floyd.
I fail to see why opera should be funded by the taxpayer because the likes of Ms Toynbee think it's good while my ticket to a Pink Floyd concert is not.
This is not about my, possibly, dubious taste in music. It's about equality.
Why should I fund, through my taxes, something I don't want to go to???
Sure, the drivel that Belly produces could be manufactured by a Bangladeshi child in a cheap clothing factory.
It follows a rough pattern, substitute the loom for poor people or disableds or immigrants or homosexuals or wimmin or young people or old people or mentals. It writes itself, which is just as well because she can't.
As with many people born into privilege, the idea of mere middle-class people aspiring to better themselves is anathema - and as for working-classes - my Christ.
This is why my public-school nephew is picked on by boys from a nearby (older) public school.
And this is why there are bitter people like Anthony Fraser, Harold Harman, Patrick Hewitt and Ollie Toynbee.
"It's our merry go round and there isn't room for you"
"Oh, and out another 20p in, we want another go"
I know of at least two highly trained artists who have not only made enough to send their children to private school yet have never received a penny in public funding; the reason is that they produce recognizable art using traditional techniques and keep their prices within the reach of ordinary people.
The work they produce is, naturally, looked down on as unforgivably old-fashioned by the chatterati, but it's worth noting that, when it comes to family portraits and garden sculpture, many of the loudest cultural commentators are quietly buying traditional representational artwork for their own homes.
As Ms Toynbee's interest implies, this is primarily political; the personal artist-patron relationship is such anathema to some that their ideology requires artists to eschew any form of private income in favour of state funding. (The fact that many produce work so ugly no-one in his or her right mind would give it house-room even as a gift is merely further proof of their integrity.)
I love opera. Maybe not quite as much as pure orchestral work, but nothing froths me up quite as much as fumbling with my bow tie and trying to follow the plot.
I love Pink Floyd too, although I expect most of their revenue will go on helicopters and racing cars - two noble ventures. As for the old folks' music, it's more humble, and I declare an interest - my cousin is a conductor.
If you don't believe me, he's working the 27 to Chalk Farm out of Stamford Brook Depot.
The overhead of an orchestra or an opera performing in a Grade I listed building, dedicated to that purpose, is great. I suppose you could have an N'Dubz concert there, if you wanted it to look like Mogadishu afterwards, or even PF, where we could all just take in the spliff haze in the emergency exits, man. I have nothing against that.
The ideal solution to this is to say: this is a cultural imperative, with roots going back centuries. This sets us apart from the barbarians. It must be maintained, and it will, though voluntary participation. A tax, to which the taxed pay no heed. How small a burden is that? You pay a tax, you do not realise that you have paid it, and you don't care?
Tax the innumerate. Lottery Tax.
Mr Badback, Rotherham: "I'm bloody proud to sponsor Aida this year, I am, and I wish them the best of fuckin' luck. And if they don't take me DLA away, it'll be that Donna's E- mobile one"
Kywanzee Obudabombom, Streatham: "When I got my money, I thought, food, no scratch cards, cuz Duwayne's a growing boy an I gotta wean Tyrone sometime. But then I thought, maybe I can win me some real money and treat everyone to everything in KCF and buy everything there and get all my friens an that. An I was like yeah go for it. So now I am sponsoring Bakedoven or summit but I didn't win nuthin. But I got respect at this Bakedoven, he's gonna groove em down."
Jemima Kyle, Bolton: "My six kids and me have a right to decide where my benefits go. So instead of puttin them into the hands of greedy Soothern bastards like them supermarkets, we give them straight to the ENO through my Thunderball tickets, so when I win, I can get Mr Fancy-pants Fortnum to microwave our chips personally when we win, with posh chips he has to bring up from London. In the meantime we'll have been fostering someone to fill the shoes of Sir Colin Fuckin Davis so it's win-win"
I used to regularly visit Birmingham Art Gallery when I lived there. I recall that a significant proportion of the paintings and sculptures had been given or bequeathed by local,well off worthies such as the Cadburys. I believe this also holds true for Manchester and other big cities.Toynbee would be better employed in getting her rich socialist mates to follow suit so that all can enjoy art.
"I fail to see why opera should be funded by the taxpayer because the likes of Ms Toynbee think it's good while my ticket to a Pink Floyd concert is not."
Except they don't need subsidy?
"As with many people born into privilege, the idea of mere middle-class people aspiring to better themselves is anathema..."
Oh, spot on!
"The work they produce is, naturally, looked down on as unforgivably old-fashioned by the chatterati..."
And that's the best kind of art.
" I recall that a significant proportion of the paintings and sculptures had been given or bequeathed by local,well off worthies such as the Cadburys. "
Indeed! Why not encourage philanthropy, rather than govt subsidy? Well, because philanthropy doesn't provide future jobs for the offspring of the Guardianistas.
Arts Funding is the dole but for posh kids. I know of several 'artists' who largely make a living from getting funded by, basically, the state. One is a (ahem) "composer" who, if it wasn't for the stream of lucrative 'arts projects' that he's plugged into, would soon be busking outside of Greggs on the High Street. Except that he also claims the dole when he's not 'working'.
Post a Comment