Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Blinkered vision

There was a piece in last week's Gazette about a post being offered at Turner Contemporary for someone to co-ordinate a project for teenagers. The general tone was a sadly blinkered prejudice, not only against the arts but also, even more sadly, to teenagers. An overwhelming message that they're not worth having the money spent on them.

The big issue was the outrageous idea of the post being offered at £200 a day - gosh, what a lot of money it said, 50K a year, matching MPs, deputy head teachers and architects (the examples quoted of such high rates of pay).

It made me cross. Very cross. Not only blinkered but petty and small-minded. It's a not-brilliant amount of money for a professional freelancer, the same that you'd pay any expert in their field, even a builder. In fact many professionals wouldn't even get out of bed for that amount. But it came across loud and clear that why on earth could an arts project be worth that, or the young people that would be benefiting from the work.

Hey ho. Rant over.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

What have you seen recently that's had an impact?

Just to start this off, here's an obvious one - just thinking about things you read and see, so many pass by with hardly a remembrance and it's a joy when it's not like that. When you find yourself thinking about it in an unexpected moment, or you keep starting a conversation about it.

Recently, something that stayed with me was Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre. First produced in the late 70s, a collaboration with Andre Previn and Tom Stoppard (well, I guess that's a good start), breaking the traditional idea of how you create and set a play with music. They chose to put both orchestra and actors on stage together and to have both a part of the action. Magic moments arise, such as when 3 chellists suddenly emerge as contemporary dancers.

The subject of the play is enough alone to get you thinking, with an exploration of the imprisonment of dissidents in the Soviet Union. The staging sets it apart and increases the impact artistically and intellectually. Thank you Felix Barrett and Tom Morris for giving it to us.