There’s no business without show business: How Commercialism Bankrupted Britain’s Art
Take me into any West-End Show. Point at the grandeur of the buildings, the deep carpet that grips the soles of your feet and the heavy stage curtain – the theatre is not a home to Art, it’s merely a facade.
It can be so easy to make the crucial mistake of confusing the two. Decades of commercialisation and development, has warped common conceptions of Culture – until the public standards for what Art is have been irreparably ruined. This is not a problem endemic to the Theatre either, all formats of the Art world have been ravaged to similar effect. Homogenised through endless reiteration as opposed to innovation.
As much as it might be painful to hear – the state of Art in London has diminished, not excelled, in the past two decades.
Bedroom DJs and Laptop Producers
Surely, you’d think, this would lead to a boost in our country’s musical output. However, as is always the way, instead of hundreds of innovative performers – pushing the boundaries of our growing culture – we have been presented with a multitude of laptop wielding ‘producers’, all content to emulate and replicate what has come before.
The result of this technological revolution? A shamefaced recycling of ideas and trends, leaving us in the shallow quagmire of music that we find ourselves in. Of course, the widespread popularity of reality shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and The X-Factor have done little to help the cavalier nature with which most approach the Arts. The old saying ‘Everyone’s a critic’ has never been more true.
The 21st Century Star Making Machine
Although these reality talent shows can be as much about the judges as the hopeful contestants, the real damage they have done in the long run is to convince a nation, brought up on the weakest two decades of culture, that they have the requisite knowledge and experience to judge performance.
Coupled with the aspirational nature of the shows, is the suggestion that anyone can be a ‘star’ – as long as they conform to the social and cultural values that are deemed worthy by the show’s creators. This, inevitably, created generations of families that did not reach beyond Saturday night entertainment for any new or innovative form of music. As the songs performed on these shows tend to be covers of ‘classic’ pop hits or current chart successes, a cannibalisation of the music industry began – a sadistic black snake consuming it’s own tail.
Too Late To Recover?
Although viewing figures for these shows have been diminishing, year-on-year, it might be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, there is still hope for the survival of Britain’s Art scenes. It lies dormant, hiding in plain sight amidst the digital sea of social media.
Thanks to the internet, and the sharing of digital content, it’s possible now for the groundbreaking artists of tomorrow to make waves with an audience that truly supports them. Through the use of sharing sites, artists can create and innovate at their own leisure.