Monthly Archives: March 2014

Welcome to the party… BBC… ART ON TELLY!

I remember a meeting we had one time when I was at the Arts Council, where we were brought into a presentation about Arts Programming on the telly. It was being suggested that the rafts of crappy competitions on early evening prime time Saturday slots was a reason to be giddy about arts programming. There is was… THE ARTS… on PRIME TIME TELLY!

I have to say I was a little skeptical and I probably said as much (my voice wasn’t one which was often listened to given I wasn’t in that kind of role there). It might have got a little more collegiate since I’ve not been there but them in charge definitely are in charge in the classic sense.

I’m not totally against these shows (I hardly watch them but the dancing ones are alright I guess) but they can no more be called arts programming than that one about diving be labelled a sports programme.

When I saw the headline that the BBC will be giving the arts a central role from now on I got most excited. In a week when I read about how chastening it is to be reminded the distance most people are away from the arts, I thought it was timely that our major broadcaster be doing its bit.

A little underwhelmed by some of the suggestions of shows.. looks like the usual suspects in many ways, doing the usual stuff for the usual people… Someone needs to get the people from the shows I allude to above and FORCE them to think of an exciting arts based show which DOESN’T involve people being humiliated, or any kind of contest at all.

If they want some ideas on any music programmes they can always give me a shout.

I’m mostly very very pleased with this announcement and look forward to some of the shows!

 

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Troubled Water: Dementia, unhappy endings – comparing Simon and Garfunkel to ACDC

I can be a terrible music bore. I AM a terrible music bore. I had a lovely moment this very afternoon when two friends came by and said “what’s this?” to my playing Bill Callahan stuff… So I then proceeded to put on a bit too much and then try to talk them through the lovely lyrics in Rococo Zephyr.

I say “talk them through”: all I wanted to point out was how lovely was the line “I used to be sorta blind. Now I can, sorta, see”. Many times I stop and marvel at Bill Callahan lyrics and think the man can do what he wants… Here’s the song for you to listen to.

“I used to be sorta blind. Now I can, sorta, see” allows him to be almost confident about what he’s saying… maintaining a vague insecurity. It feels better than boasting I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT. It’s more modest. There’s still room for error or improvement. But he means it. He can see now, where once he couldn’t. (I think).

Anyhow. I had cause to remember recently, perhaps where I got my music bore qualities from. When I was a little tubby cherub boy my mum had Bridge Over Troubled Water on tape. I would go upstairs and play this over and over on the shoe-box tape player. Celia, and El Condor Pasa were my favourites as a kid. And finding out who Frank Lloyd Wright was later on was cool.

Mum one day talked me through the title track. It was particularly special when Art Garfunkel joined in with his special harmony. She quite specifically wanted me to hear that part. She loved it. I still do. Here’s my music bore bit: It’s like a whole crescendo that song… building right to the end… almost… not quite as marked as Hells Bells, but almost…

So I went to see mum last week and played her the song. A few in fact, from the album. Given I’m a buzzfeed dick, I have seen that video of the nice old American man who is just seemingly actually SWITCHED BACK ON AGAIN from his almost comatose state upon being played his favourite songs from his youth. (it’s here if you haven’t seen it).

me and mum

Me and mum

I can confirm that the reality (for me at least) was not quite so dramatic. Mum DID know what she was hearing and perked up a bit. Hummed/murmured along. Tapped her feet ever so lightly. It was so nice to see. She didn’t miraculously come back to life though. I think that’s what I was sorta hoping for.