Showing posts with label elitist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elitist. Show all posts

Monday 23 February 2015

Posh Culture

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Once the regenerating resurgence of the 60s and 70s social mobility meant a vibrant and energizing arts creativity. There was a wealth of working class musicians who listened to American blues artists and realized that anyone might aspire to pick up a guitar and play rock and roll. 

Sadly this is not so today. I wondered a few years back over more recent UK bands that hailed from middle class and upper middle class backgrounds - such as Mumford, Coldplay and others - have been squeezing out those young people not so favoured.  

It appears I am not alone thinking these thoughts. Scottish actress Elaine C Smith writing in the Sunday Herald, “Does it matter if UK culture is increasingly dominated by a privately educated elite? You bet it does.”
‘there is no doubt that the old guard are back in charge, with a wealthy, privileged, white, male, privately educated elite dominating our arts, film and TV. The big problem is that for young people today there are few opportunities if you attend a state school

I lived in the US for ten years where I noticed that the tv soaps were never about any divisive 'them and us' class system. Today in the UK we have either posh TV soaps such as Downton Abbey  -  or working class soaps like Eastenders. 

Notably recently several of the new younger actors are from privileged backgrounds, such as - 
Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddi Redmayne, Domimic West.

We have Oxbridge graduates coming up to Scotland to run The Scottish National theatre and Creative Scotland, as well as other major cultural events here, who don’t have grounding in what Scotland is about. In fact a Scot has never run these major Scottish creative bodies (to my great surprise!). I don’t suspect that France would wish to have Germans or Americans running their culture!

Question remains – who is in charge of our arts – universities, galleries, theatre companies, festivals, opera, ballet and so on. And do we need outsiders telling us they know better how to develop our culture?

And no, this is not about the politics of envy, as James Blunt suggested, but rather that this stifles and misrepresents culture. This is also about providing for cultural diversity.

Scottish actor James McAvoy expresses his concern: "As soon as you get one tiny pocket of society creating all the arts, or culture starts to become representative not of everybody, but of one tiny part, and that's not fair to begin with, but it's also damaging for society."
Benedict Cumberbatch attended boarding school Brambletye School
Eddi Redmayne attended Eton.
Domimic West also attended Eton and Trinity college. 
Chris Martin boarded at Sherborne School, a boys' independent school Dorset where he met future Coldplay manager Phil Harvey.
Mumford attended private school King’s College School Wimbledon.
James Blunt was educated at private school Harrow.

There are around 2,500 independent schools in the UK, which educate around 615,000 children, being some 7 per cent of all British children and 18 per cent of pupils over the age of 16. yet those from independent schools dominate at Oxford, Cambridge, government, and other leading roles. A big part of this is confidence and networking.