Maureen Lipman has described Culture Secretary Maria Miller as a “nightmare” and complained that most recent arts ministers know nothing about art.
They rarely pick farmers to be Agriculture Minister, or policemen to be Home Secretary either. So what?
Lipman is the biggest name on the bill at London’s newest theatre – the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park. Challenged about the virtues of opening a new playhouse when so many other arts ventures are struggling, the 67-year-old said: “Do we need new theatres? That’s a good point. I have a theory that you can always get money for buildings, but not for people. That applies to hospitals and schools. Or The Shard.”
Cue that oh-so-familiar, slightly mocking voice: “A very useful addition to the City. But can you get money for people? No.”
As if to illustrate her point, she insinuates that even designers of swanky new theatres have to be prodded to remember the needs of the people actually using them.
Like the staff who serve behind the box office counter, or the audience, maybe the disabled visitors, perhaps?
“I had to insist on having a window installed in my dressing room because I thought I was going to be suffocated in there. “
Oh. Clearly not.
Not that the new Park Theatre has had to worry about penny pinching from Ms Miller. Jez Bond, its artistic director, tapped wealthy luvvie luminaries for the £2.5m he needed, with donations from the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Celia Imrie.
Lipman said she was “probably” among those who stumped up some cash, adding: “What I give is purely instinctive and on the spur.” Much like her comments on the state of the arts, she said, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting.
“Art is essential in a society but it’s the easiest thing to cut because, as you see from Czechoslovakia and everywhere, if you cut it down, if you repress it, it will come out at the sides, like a pressure cooker. So there will always be art.”
So we don’t need to worry about subsidising it then, do we?
"Art is essential in a society but it’s the easiest thing to cut because, as you see from Czechoslovakia and everywhere, if you cut it down, if you repress it, it will come out at the sides, like a pressure cooker. So there will always be art."
Czechoslokia and the USSR had plenty of art. It was just the art that the politicians wanted. And as a result, most of it was crap (or what had been created before they came along). How many great works of art can you think of from the Soviet Union 1917 to 1990?
Constructivism perhaps? Well, you did ask...
"So we don’t need to worry about subsidising it then, do we?" Art is a by product of civilisation and ever destined to be dependent, Julia.
"How many great works of art can you think of from the Soviet Union 1917 to 1990?" Gosh, are you kidding, Stigler? And if you include great composers and dancers, the period defines unrivalled genius. Even their contemporary plod take steps to approach suspects with classical entrée...being in their genes and all.
It seems odd that luvvies who hate the system should be subsidised by it.
And it seems even odder that one-trick Jewish mother impersonators should have been subsidised so lavishly over the years, through the TV tax and the Arts Council.
Privatise the BBC and stop funding theatres, and such poor players will soon stop strutting and fretting their hour upon the stage.
Few people will buy tickets or channel subscriptions to be bored by them any more.
I am sick of their idiotic tales, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but greed.
"How many great works of art can you think of from the Soviet Union 1917 to 1990?"
About as many as the number of famous Belgians!
"Few people will buy tickets or channel subscriptions to be bored by them any more."
I really hope so.
The Reaper advises us to live well before he comes, Julia. Better eat less chocolate and walk regularly to an Art Gallery than vilify Belgians for a static condition.
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