Tag Archives: musicians

Arts, Culture and Politics

Stephen Harper made a statement that Canadians didn’t want to pay for artists to stand around at galas, which didn’t relate to the ordinary person. Here’s his lovely open-minded comment:

I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see … a bunch of people … at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren’t high enough when they know those subsidies have actually gone up, I’m not sure that’s something that resonates with ordinary people.

So let’s see, ordinary people. Hmm, he’s saying artists aren’t ordinary. So who is: police, cashiers, neurosurgeons, unemployed street people? Just, who, Mr. Harper, is ordinary and who isn’t? We “artists,” writers, musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors, singers, actors, etc. aren’t ordinary. Hell, we float down from the clouds, perform our works and then go back to gilded halls of champions. We don’t need to buy food, pay rent, sleep or socialize. We’re aliens I guess, living in our special niches high on the rocks.

He even mentioned taxpayers. No body told me, that as an extraordinary artist person that I can actually not pay taxes. I’ll apply for that right away since I’m a taxpayer and an artist but I therefore can’t be ordinary. Oh and I go to galas every week, in my head maybe. Galas, puhleeze, Mr. Harper, get your facts straight and stop making sweeping generalizations. As a taxpayer, an ordinary person I very much want to see the culture of my country and not a carbon copy of the US’s culture. I want to have Canadian individuality.

The only “galas” I’ve ever gone to have been those I’ve paid for and usually at conventions. Granted I’m a small peas writer and not a big name singer or actor but all of those people have worked hard and long to get where they’re going. Should we never have a gala to recognize the best in their fields? Is this is what Harper is suggesting? Just how many galas are there? I bet there are fewer than the ones the politicians attend especially when they’re doing fundraising for their campaigns.

Art and culture consists of far more than watching TV, Mr. Harper. It involves plays, concerts, art for walls and halls and front lawns of government buildings. It involves things to read and things to look at, a break for the “ordinary person” from the dreariness or just plain hard work of a job. It provides entertainment and humor, and a release of tension. It provokes joy and sorrow with deeper thoughts and discourse into our everyday life. The pen is mightier than the sword for a reason.

Speaking of swords and other sports, if you subsidize athletes, artists of the body as much as dancers are, then why not subsidize the arts? It all falls under entertainment.  Many regimes through history have tried to muzzle their artists. The governments fear what the art may point fingers at. China is an example of some of the muzzling being done. But I’d say that Harper’s gang is trying to muzzle any arts they disapprove of and doesn’t represent the views they want put forward.

I have to go now and put on my subsidized ball gown so I can go to another subsidized artists’ gala that all those ordinary people are going to watch on TV but not care about. But one last point to Stephen Harper: perhaps if you didn’t slash funding to the arts and censor it, then you might have got a truly original speech all those years ago as opposed to having to use the Australian prime minister’s recycled speech. plagiarized

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Music Magicians: Eno & Byrne

A new collaboration between David Byrne and Brian Eno has come out, their first in thirty years. If you don’t know who they are, Byrne is of Talking Heads fame http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Byrne and Eno is just a god. He’s produced numerous albums including work on David Bowie’s, U2’s and Coldplay’s albums to name a few, not to mention his work with Roxy Music and Talking Heads.

I’ve always considered Brian Eno an artist first; an innovator, a sculptor. Far more than a musician he experiments with sound. He did some of the first samplings in music when he and David Byrne produced My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (which coincidentally I found the book with same title years ago, by Amos Tutola about an African shaman–I never quite finished it as it’s very nonlinear). I love some of his early albums, which to me have not become dated because they’re just so different. Taking Tiger Mountain and Another Green World are two of my favorites. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_eno

Eno’s Ambient Music (for airports etc.) never did strike me as being more than sophisticated musack but he was working with nearly subliminal perceptions and gradual changes in music that go unnoticed until you go, hey, that changed somewhere along the line. I always liked the quirkier stuff. I don’t have everything and need to still find a lot of these in CD, if they exist. Eno and Cale have always been a bit more eclectic and experimental and the pop rock crown may never have heard of them. But anyone who is a serious musician, especially knows of Eno’s work. He’s been listed on some albums as playing the Eno or something may have been Enoized.

One of my all time favorite albums ever is Wrong Way Up  by Eno and John Cale, he of the Velvet Underground. Unfortunately I had it only in tape and was hoping to transfer it to CD before it was stolen from my car (who steals tapes these days?). So now I’ll need to see if I can buy a CD. I’m hoping it exists. You can never tell with these guys.

Anyway this is their new album, Everything that Happens Will Happen Today, exclusive through the internet right now, and that’s where you order it.  http://www.everythingthathappens.com/

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Filed under Culture, entertainment, music