A grey new world
Tom Moriarty, musician and Occupier considers the abandonment of the arts in education.
I am fascinated by the words of Nick Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery in a newspaper article today. In the piece he talks about the success and popularity of the Tate and the threat of the arts being sidelined in schools. His words are both inspiring and heartening. “The British people are consistently underestimated,” he thinks. And there it is right there. And those are also my thoughts entirely. The people are underestimated and disrespected – consistently, unquestionably, and deliberately. They are the “them” to the very oh so self-important “us” of the parliament corridors and cabinet room. And it’s been like that for years, in my view, finding new lows with the beginning of the cloak and dagger, control-freak government of the Blair/Campbell era.
Sir Nick is hopeful however that government doesn’t turn its back on culture, “You do need a few people round the Cabinet table who appreciate the importance of culture in life…” Hmmm. Clearly Michael Gove is not one of them, well just look at him, with the launch of the proposed EBaccs qualification which excludes art and music. One of course has to wonder if those other great paragons of society, the bankers, the pursuers of financial gain, the purveyors of financial pain, are equally responsible for the abandonment of the arts.
Apparently the art world is horrified and so it should be, but so should the rest of us. What a dull grey world we are creating, fashioning a world without fashion, where we worship the disciples of money, and the arts are increasingly a tool to achieve talentless fame. Sir Nick goes on to talk about Richard Rogers and that under the new teaching edicts he wouldn’t have “survived” because he is dyslexic, actually like many entrepreneurs and creators. “You have to take art seriously or you will never discover the next wave of designers….,” says Sir Nick. Yeah, you won’t! I think about the dearth of new musical talent but at what point can you count the cost of a dress that is never made, a theatre that is never built, a poem that is never spoken, a melody that is never played, a line that is never delivered, a song that is never written, a chorus that is never sung or a canvas that remains forever clean. With some things you only realise how important they were when they’re gone. Or as Prince once said,… “And love, it isn’t love until it’s past.”