10 years pricking the art voodoo doll 2005-2015

Month: March 2007

Quality Control or Me-Owism?

 A reply to Nick Seddon in Guardian who I insisted on calling Heddon throughout..oh well…apologies for that but you cannot edit once posted…so keep your Heddon:-)

debate here..


I see Mr. Seddon has revived that old hoary chestnut ‘quality’ again. It may come as a surprise to some (but not those involved in the business of filling in application forms at which many are now Olympic standard) that The Arts Council may do some things but evaluating submissions on basis of ‘quality’ of the actual art is not one of them. In fact it is written into its ‘democratic’ remit that submissions are assessed on everything BUT the actual artwork. This is to be as democratic as possible. Mr.Seddon sounds rather quaint in his assessment of the Arts Council as if he’d walked out of a Festival of Britain poster. In the good old days the ‘grandees’ of British Culture would have decided on ‘merit’ what good and bad but those days are hopefully long gone and its Oxbridge-centred ‘sifting’ of what good and bad too. I stand firmly on the fence when ‘quality’ is used as a marker..whose quality, click whose agendas? For all its mistakes (they are legion) the present Arts Council is trying to divide Lottery spoils equally.

Mr. Seddon is right there will be no revolution in regards to the ‘spoilt’ arts i.e. theatre, recipe opera and ballet. They were at core of original Arts Council and remain ‘spoilt’ as long as their ‘quality and prestige ‘ factor remains high and important to both sides of Parliament. What the debate has highlighted is the lack of some universal notion of quality down at the ‘lower levels’. Implementing a satisfactory ‘quality control’ there opens a can of worms we may never close…Until then we get the hit and miss system we have now. Better that than direct ‘Art Tsars’ or heaven forbid ‘Departments of Culture’. I note Mr.Seddon involved in ‘Civitas’ and that august body is well known for leaning to the right and damning ‘pc’ culture. I may not like the present system any more than Mr. Seddon but I am not going to be fooled into promoting a return to the class-based elitism and notions of quality that it would also mean. I have argued elsewhere that a fully democratic asessment of funding and ‘quality control’ which builds on the Arts Council’s laudable move toward ‘accountability’ (this debate for instance) is needed not a return to the days when the ‘arts’ in the hands of a small and wealthy elite.

‘Art for Art’s sake’ smacks of that elitism and I refute it for those reasons. I’m sure that Mr. Seddon’s notion of ‘quality’ different to mine and very different to a single parent on a Nottingham Estate. Who is to say any of ours is the right notion? Indeed those cats with their heads in the bowls of cream are never the most aware of the poor kittens with no cream and in some cases no bowls.Me-owism I would call it.

P.S. re: …”so perhaps the Arts Council could focus not on commissioning art works but instead on creating spaces – auditoria, drugstore theatres, galleries.”I not sure if London is in need of more and if you take a look around the country, Liverpool, Middlesborough, Nottingham we are awash with new ones and West Bromwich an extreme example. It is not buildings (beloved as they are of ‘regenerationists’) but what we put in them that the problem…the ‘creative industries’ (maybe the only industries left) are on an upward curve that will mean non-artists may be in the minority soon. Maybe then the newly formed ‘Non-Arts Council’ will ‘remove art’ on their behalf rather than promote it??

Disappearing Labour and the triumph of ‘practice’.

Raleigh Plant Nottingham

Raleigh Plant Nottingham : Now redeveloped into University Buildings.

How ‘professional practice’ removed the working-class from the picture.

One of the most striking aspects of the development of the fine art world in the last 25 years since I was at art-college has been the rapid and total de-skilling of artistic ‘practice’. Indeed that word ‘practice’ sums up the qualitative change in the environment that artistic ‘practitioners’ and students operate in. I am focussing on that word because it seems to me to be symptomatic of the larger changes. Trends begin in language and ‘practice’ supplanting ‘art work’ or ‘oeuvre’ is one of the most significant.As an art student we had ‘complementary studies’ which ranged across critical studies and other art forms but nowhere was I introduced to notions of ‘critical practice’, unhealthy ‘networking’ or ‘research procedures’. Instead there was a healthy insistence on the ‘materiality’ of the process down to the actual grinding of pigment for paint (how quaint that seems in our cyber paint age) and the physical act of creation as a significant and in some cases all-encompassing feature of creating ‘art-works’. That word ‘work’ there is important. Tutors not only theorised in the abstract but also commented on constructive principles, prostate materials and assembly.To read back through the statements of artists such as Henry Moore, Anthony Caro, David Hockney even was to be introduced not only to intellectual concepts of ‘making art’ (again note word ‘making’) but also to physical notions of ‘craftsmanship’. For artists from working-class backgrounds such as Moore and Hockney there was a seamless affirmation of the quality of making that their communities whether in Bradford Mills or Leeds Foundries would have understood. The general public may have baulked at the physical embodiment of those ideas but a welder or sign-painter would have understood the technical ability involved in its construction. Without ‘labouring’ the point there is a direct correlation with this activity and the philosophy of craftsmanship stretching back through Morris to the old guilds. Even as a lowly labourer (working on middle-class tutor’s house for cash be it painting and decorating or building work with my fellow working-class students) I and my ‘labouring’ friends were acutely aware of the instilled belief in ‘a job done properly or not at all’. Coming from a background of low incomes that mantra was a source of pride to ‘working-class’ students that maintained dignity and purpose when treated badly.

So what does this have to do with artistic ‘practice’? Well, as the artistic climate began to metamorphose in dealing with the destruction of traditional class divisions such as the breaking up of the Miner’s Strike and the new opportunities of money from selling state assets to the people that owned it the hard left suddenly found it could no longer ‘believe’ or support those hackneyed themes and looked to wider academic philosophies for support…Derrida, Foucault..whatever suited was used. Language invaded the academies and process became mental rather than physical. Life-rooms were ‘disappeared’ as were the craft technicians and their areas..wet photography, etching, printmaking in general and sculpture. Advances in digital equipment and the internet made costing art education cheaper and also opened up the floodgates of language which washed over the huddling masses in spectacular fashion. The result two decades later is that ‘practice’ has replaced ‘work’. Painters and their messy procedures have been sidelined in favour of more streamlined and cost-effective ‘streaming’ per unit (a unit=one student by the way). Result has been a complete implosion of not only those more gruelling and supposedly less intellectually taxing pursuits as painting, etching, bronze casting but also a radical denial that those forms were anything but an old-fashioned aspect of bourgeoisie and right-wing ‘control’.

Unfettered from their working-class shackles of mind these warriors of the new left/right could dance around the world as ambassadors of Thatcherite ‘entrepreunership’ or New Labour ‘Cool Brittania’ with not a moment of doubt or guilt that they had thrown any babies out with the bath water. This process was so swift and its impact so total that even before I left art college in 1981 the process had started. This process found its moment of triumph in ‘Sensation’ and its attendant ‘Brit-Art’ boom. Gone were the toiling working class and the effete bourgeoisie world of watercolours and oil-painting. Swept aside in the revolution of two strange-bedfellows – new money a la Saatchi ( gained from political propaganda lest it be forgot in the fog of time) and the hard-left apparachiks of ‘new’ Polytechnic/Unis and ‘new’ art. These were heady times and so what if half the philosophy and theorising did not stand up it had that elusive ‘Wow’ factor and it sold. Yes these partners in the dance had found each other and would never let go.

Twenty years later and like the ‘little’ man who sweeps up after the art-school ball the effects are everywhere. Art-schools and Polytechnics (Rebranded New Universities to give them ‘professional status’) are no longer under local authority control but are multi-million pound businesses siphoning off cash from those who can best pay i.e. the middle-class and the ubiquitous and much loved ‘overseas student’. That process of removing the original meaning and philosophy of the ‘Technical Schools’ and the Victorian notion of ‘training for ornament’ to decorate the ‘Empire’ are gone and with them Morris and Co’s belief in progress through labour.

Here ‘practice’ has come into its own. It is a fact that the recent changes in grants will remove the few working-class students foolhardy and resistant to parental pressure able to make into the newly ‘professional’ class of the ‘contemporary artist’. A few will always slip through because of inate ability as Grayson Perry recently noted. For the majority though a ‘second-stream and second-rate’ mountain to climb through school, further education and maybe an HND if they are lucky awaits. The good aspects of ‘craftsmanship’ (abilty, hand and eye co-ordination and pride) have been jettisoned along with the bad (subservience, minion status, ‘little-man syndrome’) and we are left with a system that is as ruthlessly middle-class in its deportment, salary expectations and class awareness as any yet seen. Blairism is not the triumph of the ‘old working class’ it is the triumph of the new ‘middle-class and it’s most recent converts…those lucky enough to slip their working class shackles and join the ‘parade’.

How does this affect the Arts Council? In the past the Arts Council from its post-war origins onward has been largely a middle-class/upper-class dominated project despite its Welfare State status. As pointed out to me recently by someone in the Arts Council the post-war remit was heavily towards supporting the noble performing arts…Opera, Dance, Theatre. These were in need of rebuilding and supporting post-war at a time of rationing and scant resources and the Arts Council did its job well within that remit. Indeed some positive extras even appeared such as Larkin’s idea for a Poetry Library. Despite boom and bust several times over these arts are sacrosanct and let us not forget that they will retain their core funding unless some real revolution happens soon. The reality is the support of individual artists and community arts projects etc has been largely funded out of the lottery funds which are now on the wane. Forget Olympic slight of hand the real downward trend in that area of ‘smoke and mirrors taxation’ will continue as the public grow tired of losing their few quid every week.

My argument is that the Arts Council recently has become a partner in the ‘professionalisation’ of the arts. Individual grants have mostly gone to those most able to tick the boxes which is not the same as the most deserving or the most able. A middle-class practitioner of whatever background with a good grasp of language and how to network is always able to jump through the hoops required and draw down funding more easily than an ordinary member of the public .

The Arts Council actually funds A-N the artist’s newsletter which has come to represent one area of ‘practice’ as defined by the new universities. Artistic finishing schools like the Slade, Chelsea and Royal College continue to process artists through to the major galleries as they have done since time immemorial. When I received an offer of a place at the Royal College in 1981 I was a working-class exception not the rule and was swiftly replaced by ‘overseas student’ when I could not afford the fees. From comments by a current RC student on a Grayson Perry article nothing much has changed there. Outside that alumni network the practicing artist from the New University flowerbed has pretty much taken over the ‘alternative’ network of regional arts centres, art galleries and a-n itself.

Nothing wrong with that in principle but because this new class also sees itself as ‘professionalised’ and newly minted ‘middle-class’ it keeps a distance from anything that reminds it of its non-professional background….paint, stone, non-literate visual communication…..the values of its parents if working class and the manners and dirty hands of ‘that lot from the estate’ if it is middle class. Result, the Arts Council unwittingly because it speaks only in the ‘new language’ is part of a process that divorces the working class student from its background and makes it feel ashamed. I may be regarded as being sensationalist here but Jeremy Seabrook identified a similar process in regards to community thirty years back as the ‘magic-carpet’ ride in regards to working class students going to university and never returning to their ‘sink estates’.

Artists like Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin are like Ali Baba riding that carpet for all it is worth but they have never touched down in their original communities since unless as ‘researchers’ or for the occasional family get together. They have done the trick their families expected of them of converting all that ‘arty stuff’ into cash and that brings a grudging admiration from their peers but do they give anything back?

Where the Arts Council has failed in my opinion and where it could make a great leap forward is in increasing the ‘scope’ of its funding to include more of what regarded as ‘amateur’ by the new professionals which as I stated can and does include a great deal of painters and crafts people ‘removed’ from the bigger picture who do not apply for Arts Council funding (including serious for want of better term artists disenfranchised by the new elitism) because the gatekeepers – are generally the young professional middle-class – the ‘mujistas’.

If they could reintroduce the ‘floating’ and disenfranchised practitioners back into their communities or the communities they now live in we’d have a start. Paul Oliver argued for a nodal system of arts centres based on BBC buildings around the country and it still an area for possible development.

The key concept here is the A.C.E. remit of supporting the ‘cutting-edge’ – -whose edge and whose cutting? . Paring down the amazing variety of art and culture created in this country by narrow ‘professionalist’ concepts of right and wrong means many are left out by default. Narrow face-saving attempts to promote inclusion by parachuting white middle-class artists into ‘problem areas’ to facilitate do more harm than good if not conducted with local knowledge and understanding.

Another £30 K sculpture of a giant egg on the roundabout on the edge of town reinforces that lack of communication. The ‘disappeared’ labourers……the ones on night shift cleaning, herded into lump labour vans at dawn, sitting in kiosks on garage forecourts, cleaning cars.. etc etc have as much of a right to seeing the arts too but are their notions of what art is …craftsmanship and effort maybe? ….to be ignored because not cutting edge?

Can that always be dismissed as dumbing down?

Clean bright empty offices and clean bright empty shows and no workers…….unless serving canapés at shows…

Will the elite they serve be our doctors ..their practice our medicine?

Shaun Belcher

23 March 2007


Grayson Perry: You can lead a chav to culture but can you make him think?

Grayson Perry: Stop art schools from turning into posh white ghettos.

Accessed 22.3.2007

The Fake Gallery – revisited

fake gallery logo


It seems to me that artists have two choices…travel to Rome and adopt the clothes of the conquerer’s and become ‘curators’ or walk to the furthest edges and break down fences that border the still wild and unexplored possibly with multiple personas….Pessoa comes to mind and in his spirit I have invented any number of ‘Fake’ musicians and artists recently….indeed to the point where I declared myself a ‘Fake Gallery‘and declared my various ‘styles’ separate personas…

Only in fakery did I become real…

Fake Gallery

full original article HERE from January 2006

Where is the Art World located?

I seem to have slipped this debate onto the artforum website ….please contribute…especially if a provincial:-)

artforum logo


Where is the art world located?

by Moogee, stuff 03.21.07 02:24 pm

I was amused by your august journal’s City names on the front of your web page. According to this Nottingham U.K. is not a part of the IAW (International Art World) and neither is Chicago which I find distressing for those poor artists there. I would love some advice on how long this state of affairs has pertained and with government funding we may be able to relocate to somewhere that is in the IAW immediately thus rectifying the situation.


a proud provincial


Where is the art world located?

Digital artwork

Where is the art world located


Created 22.03.2007

Available as digital print (forthcoming)


The Arts Debate: Reply to Nairne

I find Mr. Nairne’s comments interesting. He was responsible for turning around the M.O.M.A. Oxford after some fairly lacklustre years and I remember the cries of outrage when he suggested a revolutionary ‘coffee bar’ to attract punters. Anybody who can shake the Oxford ‘snooze’ even briefly is obviously serious in his ‘inclusive’ policies. However there a key flaw in the Creative Partnerships approach which is that it can also become a self-referential project more interested in creating jobs for those involved and ‘research’ than being the outward looking ‘ambassadors for the arts’ he suggests. I work here in Nottingham in a variety of ‘Community Arts’ roles which thankfully pay me enough to continue with my ‘practice’ a word I abhor ..’art work’ is much more down to earth.

Indeed the development of an exclusive ‘art language’ and the fracturing of the art-world into cliques has done as much damage in public perception terms as any funding gripes. Press coverage and flamboyant media art stars have helped to give impression that all artists in some way ‘spoilt’ and indeed in these brief lottery-funded years of ‘plenty'(for a few) they have been. I think the coming clampdown on funding may be a good thing in that funders will be more careful where and for what purpose they fund and the beneficiaries may respond with more gratitude and less jargon and help close that artworld/public divide that in most cases is a simple lack of communication.

On the Arts Council remit question……yes international intervention a la British Council has been a well-oiled but cantankerous wagon that upsets as many as it helped. The real ambassadors for arts in the international sense are artists themselves and the links they increasingly building for themselves above and below the ‘radar’. As for ‘Own Art’ it obviously looked good on paper but it absolutely meaningless to population at large. Something like ‘Pictures on Walls’ that took over shop on Oxford Street far more successful.

Finally ‘embed the arts more powerfully in the social and political life of  England’.
Hmm jury out there….a great deal of artwork has already been channelled into fulfilling just that kind of criteria. Artists as social workers? Indeed a social worker here complained artists paid better. This brings me back to core of this whole approach. Does one change society for the better through art or does society improve because artists free and unrestricted in their opinions and development and as a part of improved education enable ‘the people’ to enjoy and partake of their wonderful ‘difference’? It’s not quite dumbing down or up but who is it that needs to dumb down and who needs to look up? That is the question….

let the debate continue….

Out of Place: Parade 2: Review

“Historians when they come to write about New Labour, tadalafil need to look no further than our council (Brighton) to see where it all went wrong; an administration that consistently ignores core services in order to spend its money on headline-grabbing projects which benefit an elite few”
Julie Burchill quoting a Brighton resident in there ,2035970, and 00.html” title=”Burchill article”>Guardian Weekend 17.03.2007

vision of future market square
What has this got to do with Parade, the Angel Row Nottingham showcase of local artistic talent? Well everything and nothing. The title itself is an oblique reference,I presume, to the coincidental ‘parade’ of dignitaries, binge drinkers, (or are they one and the same) community groups and past their sell-by-date musical acts which are launching the opening of the new ‘city square’. By an act of stupendous largesse the Nottingham City Council have managed to spend £7 million pounds ‘renovating’ the city’s market square and as if that not enough then celebrated their municipal munificence by spending another £400,000 on opening celebrations. This in a city about to see community funding go into freefall pre-olympics and which despite multiple funding initiatives still has some of the worst crime and social problems in England to deal with. Hey ho let them eat cake …

On the opposite side of this mock-Spanish square replete with silver chairs (Café Nero not Yates is our cultural destiny) we find a rather worn Angel Row which in its heyday was something of a noise in the IAW (International Art World). Ironically that golden period was long ago and far away and after a time when local-bred initiatives such as the Playhouse and Midland Group actually gave the city some claim to ‘avant-garde’ status.

Fast-forward and although the Polytechnic has blossomed into a first-rate art-school the Angel Row seems curiously caught in its own reflection. Parade number 2 curated by Mary Doyle is the second in a series of 3 showcases promising the newly ‘Europeanised’ residents of Nottingham a taste of local artistic produce …a sort of organic vegetable box of the brightest and best from the region. Well.. Nottingham actually if the map on the wall is correct then contemporary art is alive and well only within the city and at one location in Lincoln and Northampton. How fresh and sustainable is this box of goodies?

This show using the usual curatorial ‘premise’ of a trendy title is called ‘Out of Place’ so is it and what does it have to say about this place here and now? Well first thing seen is a screen showing two of Roger Suckling (Nottingham resident – Lincoln teacher) shorts which are amusing and well made musings upon just such a notion. Train tickets flicker and hand held video jogs and yes we get the message…global/local. Short, well crafted and communicative. Hats off Roger and more like that please. The fresh carrot in the box and no wilting yet.

Open the door on the gallery space and another interesting piece – Eric Rosoman’s ‘Muckle Flugga’ lighthouse in miniature and a series of marks (in tasteful artschool tape as crosses..religious symbolism?) across the grey floor. A successful and intriguing piece especially when related to the framed ship’s names. Out of place certainly but fresh still and another carrot.

The rest of the room contains a few mouldier items. Simon Withers has managed to be featured in two shows on the basis of continually shifting his ‘practice’ to suit the prevailing winds. This particular vessel. ‘Rokeby Venus by jumping’ can be safely dropped in the ‘an idea you’d have in the pub but dismiss as too silly when you woke up’ school. Flimsy but attractive to funders and small children because it is funny even if it isn’t meant to be.

Candice Jacobs is big in an ‘a-n’ (that’s artists newletter to the unsophisticated) land sort of way apparently and boasts of having Damien Hirst ‘view’ her work which marks a new low in ‘solipism’ on art c.v.’s. On this basis expect lists of ‘Famous people what walked past my work’ soon. Her work…contemporary ironic with a capital ‘C’. Ironic references to other artists in same leaky boat and to be frank dull. Apparently her work uses ‘ everyday objects in unexpected ways’ – old vinyl records, glasses and artwork that looks faintly like photos in back issues of art magazines circa 2000. You get the picture. Kids like it when it revolves though so not all bad.

Oh there a site-specific wall-piece so bland I’d almost forgotten it which managed to make one corner of the room look like habitat across the road. So two limp lettuces and a mouldy parsnip there folks.

Second room and we into the potatoes (no meat..this is council funded remember). Paul Matosic and Roger Suckling both showing large films both of which enabled through munificent Arts Council funding. Both interesting and of a piece with their careers and as older members of show surprisingly fresh still. A couple of solid cabbages. Neither piece in my opinion as good as other work they have done. The third pillar in the room by Tomas Chaffe tells you all you need to know again kids like it because it a game working out which is the ‘false’ one. It no more an artistic revelation than the glorious reworking of an old idea (sadly not his own) by Niki Russell which proves that a good idea (Mike Nelson’s Turner Prize piece of 2001 in this case) can keep you in funding for a while. As an actual object it was built by somebody with all the building skill of a member of the Royal Family. Fabulous but not as fabulous as Mayer’s film of a woman regarding a step ladder. Maybe she waiting for Niki Russell to finish his room? Three very limp turnips.

So there you have it. Global influenced local produce. If shown at a vegetable show I’d say that Suckling and Rosoman would get rosettes for at least truly describing things that were ‘out of place’. The rest I’d maybe use in an art stew like this but a couple probably end up in bin as ideas too far gone to be edible.

Re-emerging into a beautiful European-influenced marble square with trams gliding surreally through the St.Patrick’s Day parade do I feel that Nottingham’s contemporary art has suddenly risen to such a degree that it deserves attention. Well no. Decent enough attempt but lacking that particularity and individuality that is going to storm the IAW (International Art World). No point in musing on what might have been in last ten years with real support and funding for these artists and what could have been achieved with the same old square in place and all that money. No we live in a world where initiatives replace commitment and PR has supplanted common sense. Nottingham had a very strong art history before all the art-speak and interventions got in the way of the expression of raw talent.

The Angel Row and its apparachiks are not a cause of this disease they just attempting to deal with a plot of ground infected with the symptoms. Even this small plot of ground is under threat too now. The powers that be say money is needed for athletes and sports stadia not exhibitions. Maybe this isn’t the rosy dawn of a new European era but the last ‘Hurrah’ of a New Labour dominated agenda that said let everybody eat cake and things will come right…..more parades, more bread (foccacia not hovis) more circuses, more lottery money for everyone….

They didn’t come right…….but we have some lovely fountains to piss away our sorrows in.

Enjoy…croissant with your ‘mock-belgian’ lager sir?


Terra Incognita: Parade 1: Review


First of the Angel Row’s attempts (finally) to showcase the best art in Nottingham and adjacent ‘shires’. As the work was ‘curated’ out of that submitted it gives a partial overview of where the City and surrounds stands in the ‘international art world’ or IAW for short. This particular IAW is spoon fed to artists, buy cialis educators and students as the only IAW i.e. the one that is commercially viable or supported by government subsidy. IAW is depicted and debated intensely in the kind of magazine you find in the resource room of the Angel Row Gallery.

The first thing that struck me on entering this show was that it certainly looked like a show in Miami, Dusseldorf or Madrid. There was an entertaining mix of genres. Projection, TV/video, painting and floor pieces. This fitted neatly into the kind of pictures the IAW likes to classify itself by….adventurous, cross-border etc etc.

But what of the work’s actual quality? Well the most striking and probably most effective piece was Anita R Mudaliar’s cut and paste black and white children’s book illustrations projected on the wall. Not only a genuinely creepy piece but one which grabbed your attention and did not let it go. The kabbalistic floor-pieces were slight, the ‘Silesia’ paintings were too close to Richter in Godley’s case to be truly original and he has better work elsewhere..these are playing to the gallery. The other painter was let down by bad placing and the photographs seemed to be straight out of the local college textbook of slightly surreal and oblique. Simon Withers collages without the content were a good idea realised badly and again suggested some back issue of Frieze or Artforum than a genuine match of form and content.

The curation was tight and there did seem to be a genuine attempt to mirror the trendy title..<unknown worlds> sadly not this particular world as it is one I have seen many times before and it’s called the IAW. There is a wealth of other ‘art’ and other experience in this corner of England but it did seem ( subsequent shows showcasing the same artists) that work was selected for its ability to mimic the curator’s ( all outsiders ) approach and wishes rather than a genuine attempt to grasp the realities of the place.
Taking chances is not in the developing curatorial remit perhaps.

 On a positive note the sheer fact of having taken the plunge (financial practicalities and local politics aside..would this show ever happened but for the regenerative fallout of CCAN?) meant that we got to see a fairly thin slice of the art being produced here that believes it can be IAW compliant. Is it good? To be frank much of it was good enough but none of it was excellent. Nobody here is ever going to be A-List and that not carping that an aspect of reality that sometimes lost in the thrill of exposure. More realism about prospects, more interaction of good local artists with education and community and we have a better future. Without raining on the parade Nottingham and its artists and its people deserve and should get better.



This week’s rant…pigeonholing….


here the dictionary definition…

A polymath (Greek polymathÄ“s, salve πολυμαθής, meaning “knowing, understanding, or having learnt in quantity,” compounded from πολυ- “much, many,” and the root μαθ-, meaning “learning, understanding”[1]) is a person well educated in a wide variety of subjects or fields.[2] Polymaths are also described as persons with encyclopaedic or broad or varied knowledge or learning [3].

So when some twat with a M.A. in a very small specialist area …say Indian Textiles and Dodecahedrons in Southern Spanish Art 1290-1329…says you have to specialise point them towards one or more of the following….

David Lynch

Butch Hancock

Terry Allen

John Byrne

Alistair Gray


Scottish Generalists

Patrick Geddes

I could add more….usually never English by the way

Then tell them to **** *** very politely

I do everything because everything is interesting….

England is full of specialists which why when you say I write songs, paint, write poetry, review music they go glassy eyed…..You cannot be serious because you are not an academic specialist…

Well I met a specialist in angels recently and his grip on reality a lot less sound than mine but there academic privileges to hold on to..ditto 50% of Oxford Dons….I once met one who showed me photos of builders he’d taken because he’d never seen one before…….world expert on rare apples….says it all really…