Sunday, 27 May 2007

The Apogee of British Culture

Sir Edward Elgar is one of Britain's most popular composers - and certainly one of my favourites. Next Saturday it will be the 150th anniversary of his birth, and the Elgar Society has organised a series of concerts to celebrate this event. Obviously, this does not come cheap, so they asked for a grant of £174,000 from the Arts Council to help fund the event. Given that the Arts Council is supposed to promote English culture, one might have supposed that a celebration of the work of the man who was arguably England's greatest ever composer might have been the kind of thing they would wish to support.

But, as you've probably guessed by now, it was not. The Arts Council refused to provide one single penny towards this celebration of Elgar's work, as a result of which the proposed concerts have now had to be scaled back considerably. According to The Sunday Telegraph:
The decision to refuse the grant has reignited concern that Elgar's music is being blacklisted by the arts establishment because its inherent patriotism is regarded as a throwback to Britain's imperial past.
So, once again, we are expected, not to celebrate our heritage, but to be ashamed of it, and to suppress any mention of it. The very body entrusted with the promotion of our culture seeks to destroy our culture. The British Council - the body that is supposed to promote British culture abroad - has also refused to fund the Elgar celebration.

So, if the music of Elgar is not to the taste of the new arbiters of cultural value, what is?
In 2003, Arts Council England paid a lecturer in the East Midlands £12,000 to kick an empty curry carton down a street. In 2005, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that the organisation had provided £65,000 to a homosexual club which was promoting drug use on its website.
And in 2002, the Arts Council provided funding to Franko B, an exhibitionist who strips naked in public, paints his body white, and cuts his stomach open in the name of "art". This, apparently, is the apogee of British culture today.

Anyway, here is a video of the great man (and I don't mean Franko B) in action, conducting his most famous piece, back in 1931:

2 comments:

Newscounter said...

The arts council has responded to this report. Are you persuaded by its response? Vote here: http://newscounter.com/fullStory.jsp?id=122466

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