Creativity is born of revolution

Post-2010 election and the future of this country’s cultural community hangs in the balance.

Yesterday, following a Tory/Lib-Dem coalition and the announcement of the new cabinet that includes Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt *rhyming slang anyone?*, a £66 million cut in budget for the DCMS (Department for Culture Media and Sport) was reported in the national press.

Where this cut will likely be made will be to the Arts and arts funding.

So, why should this bother me?

Unable to avoid sounding like a cliche, “the Arts” is my life. My entire life. Creativity, music and performance are everything I have ever known and everything I have been able to do since I can remember. I don’t know about a lot of things, I have built my whole adult existence around music making and creating opportunities for others to make music.

But that was my choice surely?

Yes, I chose to do a variety of work that doesn’t pay very well in a field that I am passionate about. I chose to give myself the freedom I need in order to write the music I want to make. I chose to commit myself to work I believe in. But I am not a doctor, a scientist, a soldier, a psychologist, a classroom teacher, a policewoman, a plumber or a builder. If I was in the balloon I would be the first to be thrown out. I am not claiming that this is a worthy profession.

Music is all around us. It can change our mood instantaneously and unpredictably. It urges us to move, to dance, to celebrate, to cry, to sleep, to breathe differently, to rise up, to ritualise, I could go on and on.

Art is everywhere. It is what our brains do when we’re not thinking.

When did you last read a book? When did you last see a film? When did you last see a postcard or a painting that you loved? When did you last watch some people dancing or singing? When did you last pretend or lie? When did you last create, however small, even a doodle on a pad or whistling a tune? When did you last write something for work and think really hard about picking the right words? When did you last take a photograph?

What will happen?

I can’t predict the future (as you all know I’m pretty good at it though!). High end, high cost, high brow art will be largely unaffected. Yes, sure there will be cuts to the biggies (the national theatres, ballets, operas and musicals) but they will stay open and the ticket prices will go up to cover any lowering of funding.

The people who will be affected are people like me, individual artists trying to earn a living doing the only thing they are any good at. People who didn’t inherit any money to put them through private education, people who might or might not have a degree and might or might not be classically trained. Also, disabled artists, who face additional barriers to their music making and performance, this might be because of mental health difficulties, cognitive, sensory or physical impairments.

Talented, committed and incredible, unique people who have a right to express themselves through their art and have a right to be heard and seen.

In a capitalist society we all have to earn a living, we all have to contribute whatever we can to the world. I only have this. Music. This is all I have to give.

Creativity is born of revolution

I am unclear what this looks like at the moment, it is too close to yesterday’s announcement for me to feel anything other than distress. I have fire in my belly though and with time (not much time!) I will be able to express better what I mean by the above statement.

If you have anything creative in you, do it. Let it out.

Here’s some stuff that might help:

  • Any of the links on the right hand side of here will take you to stuff that can inspire you.
  • This was posted on Twitter by Futurising a while ago, it’s about just getting on with it.
  • Drake Music is a music organisation that I work with.
  • You can write to Jeremy Hunt and tell him what you think of him, in fact why not write to that awful woman Theresa May at the same time.

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2 Responses to “Creativity is born of revolution”

  1. Nathan says:

    Viva la revolution some of the best music e was born in harder times. Keep going and fight hard. Plus it’s not true that it’s the only thing you’re good at!

  2. Jimbo says:

    As a friend of mine said, Taxing poor people to pay for rich people’s interests. Pretty despicable, and the modus operandi of the Tories. Hoped it would be different this time around, and although it’s looking better, they’ll still be up to their old tricks, it seems.

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