Monday, 21 March 2011


What do you understand by that word? Generally, it's used by people to denigrate something they neither like nor understand, usually modern art or classical music. They'll also cite the fact that it's 'expensive'. I'd like to debunk this myth and proffer my own point of view.

There's an awful lot of really high-quality pop music out there: well-written, well-performed and well-produced, but there's also a hell of a lot of crap, particularly in the shooting star category. A ticket to a concert will set you back, too; the industry is not subsidised and makes no secret of the fact it's all about money, preferably yours and as much of it as possible. And let's not even start talking about all of the merchandise you can waste your money on, like copies of some cretin's backward baseball cap or facsimiles of D-Puffy Twat's gold chains.

You can see an opera or a symphonic concert for less money than one of those talentless, industry-produced pop 'stars' or rap 'artists'. Classical music, apart from being enjoyed by many more people than listen to rap, requires in all its forms a certain degree of emotional investment and concentration; popular music does not; it is designed to have a ready effect on your feelings, to be instantly enjoyed. The idea that it is somehow 'elitist' to ask an audience to show some respect for the art in front of them is, to my mind, extraordinarily offensive. Is the summit of our cultural ambition the intellect-free reception of aural and visual information? Is this all to which we aspire in the early 21st Century? If so, it's a pretty poor show.

Many people would not come to classical music events because they would feel ill-at-ease amongst the other audience members and have no affinity with the music on offer. This sentiment does not only cut one way; they are also the reasons I do not go to rap gigs. I suppose they're just too elitist.

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