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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Know Your Place...

Know Your Place.

Spike Milligan didn't understand grammar, was a bad speller and drove his book editors crazy because of his lack of punctuation.

His writing was genius. He didn't go to university, college etc, but benefitted from the post war realisation (of the upper classes and middle classes at the time ) that working class people were not the enemy, poverty was unacceptable and equality was desirable for all. 

I hate the system we have created in which those who understand these things obsessively, comment on them as if they are essential for "acceptable" talent; and those who understand and apply music theory and have been to art school, create our popular culture. Art thinking, culture to them, is only valuable if structural tick boxes have been checked.  A culture in which influential middle class people hail things as being the next big thing, and within weeks it has been forgotten along with every copycat big thing that is filmed/sounds like/ painted/tastes like etc like the previous.

Passing exams, standardised tests and  surviving factory produced education really is not the key to social mobility (Mark Nixon might think Im criticising our education system... I'm not. I'm criticising what is valued, how things are homogenised, standardised and delivered... I'm also criticising WHAT is delivered, and how middle class experience misses the point in how to "help" working class areas, children, young adults and older folk - social mobility really does not depend on standardised tests).

 Choice of and availability of and support in trying experiences out, create talent , culture and a varied, happy society. Money gives people choice, whether that time is spent finding ones self.

A flawed, but decent welfare system and very flawed grammar school system (I'm not at all praising that awful system... But it was part of a thin, very inadequate pathway that is now totally blocked ) allowed people room to be artists, singers, guitar players, journalists, writers, painters. 

A world without Milligan's, David Hockney's, Jean Michel Basquiat's, Nirvana's and Mark E Smiths is a stressful, pared back, hollow, middle class one, peppered with made up stories of working class life that middle class writers and painters and song writers and film makers have to guess, but drowned in posh accents, Otto Lenghi, drama school poshos and Oxbridge people either criticising or telling us how to live (these people create culture for cash). A society in which working class experience is demeaned, misunderstood and trashed. And what is reflected back by a middle class media, is a hatred, mistrusted and stereotyped working class. 

The grey, standardised middle class rule the world nowadays. The extreme few, working class people who make it to cultural or industrial influence do so by rejecting tgeir past, or by joining in to the snobbery, mistrust etc of where they came from . For every Mark E Smith there is a "pull ip the ladder" Brian Ferry. I remember a time that artists were criticised for selling out when they didnt have to (New Order caved after over a decade, The Fall didn't, Sonic Youth didn't, etc). Nowadays working class artists must "sell out" and give in to what middle class homogeneity will buy; or starve. 

The oddity of the post world war world, in which working class people were given a thin pathway to some influence in the UK media at least, is over. And England keeps on voting for it.

Video: Spike Milligan on Racism... HERE

Mark E Smith blamed Tony Blair... I think the malaise goes deeper. But good read HERE 

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