Monday, December 31, 2007


Sometimes, someone else say's something so it sticks on the wall when thrown.

Case in point; Mr. Bill Nelson speaking of music and art in modern times.

One of those, "gee wilikers, I wish I'd said that moments.

"In that case, if everything and anything 'matters' equally, then nothing can be said to be any more valuable than anything else. It's all relative, I suppose, but I live in a personal world where some kind of intellectual, aesthetic and artistic excellence is there to be aimed for, if not always attained. It's the striving to transcend the blandness of that idea of everything being of equal import that powers the creative engine. It's the quest for something higher, more refined, sophisticated, deeper and broader, rather than an acceptance that one thing is just as valid as another. I adhere to the notion that there are people who have attained higher standards than others in terms of their creative potential and who have worked towards a more insightful and complex realisation of their lives and who reflect this in creative terms. And, on the other side of the coin, there are those who take a casual, uninformed, uninterested and oafish attitude towards these concerns and produce work of a shallow and superficial nature. Work that does little to challenge either its maker or its audience. Now, whilst today's 'politically correct' rule book says that everyone is entitled to enjoy whatever they choose, and that it's all of equal importance, I reply by saying:-Fine, but MY choice is not to waste precious time on work that aims low. Instead, I'll seek out and encourage work, from myself and from others, that frees me from the mire of mediocre thinking. (Something that generally lurks beneath the surface of a great deal of popular music.) Forgive me, but I can't go along with the idea that because a lot of people like something, it somehow makes it culturally valuable, important or whatever. Discernment of an informed nature is needed. We wouldn't, for instance, accept poor quality education in our schools as being as of equal value to something clearly of a higher standard. And, in that sense, music has been a terrific process of self-education for me. It's transformed my mind and imagination in ways that I could never have personally experienced without exposure to the more challenging aspects it presented to me. For me, music matters and it matters that the highest aesthetic and cultural benchmarks should become a point of attainment, a target for me. If those goals are never achieved, the value of trying, of aiming higher than we can reach, is nonetheless undiminished by failure...for the very act of trying, of attempting to stretch ourselves, is capable of switching on circuits of illumination. Our popular culture isn't just a fun, entertaining reflection of general tastes but a sometimes damning expression of our status as aware and thinking human beings. It's a meter capable of testing the health of much more than the music industry marketplace. It reveals more about who we are, (or who we THINK we are,) than many people realise. So, whilst we are all free to listen to unintelligent, lazy and unimaginative music, we are also free to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and aim for something that will help our personal development move forward, rather than drag it back. To pretend that a more refined state doesn't really exist or 'matter,' that everything is equal.... Well, it's like saying that there's nowhere further to go, that we're all at the end of our progression, that there's nothing else to aim for. The modern malaise seems to encourage, or promote a reduction of values, reducing everything to a common denominator. What a dull state of affairs. My own experience, gained through years of listening to music and creating it, is that some music indeed DOES matter more than others. And some music serves only to hold us back from something greater. And that we need to make educated and informed choices, whether artist or audience. There ARE great divides, huge gaps between states of understanding, between levels of achievement. Whilst the utopian concept of all things being equal might have tremendous egalitarian appeal as a theortical goal, the hard facts show that, before that ideal can be realised, there's much work and education needed. As we are now, throwing in the towel, running away from the challenge of higher attainment, accepting the status quo, decorating ignorance with platitudes of acceptance, seems, to me to be asking for trouble further down the line. But I suppose that, at the end of the proverbial day, we each get what we deserve from our cultural uptake (or lack of it.) It's all there, but good choices are increasingly hard to come by."

Ah, the more it seems to change the less anything does.


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