Sunday, 24 April 2011

Glasgow and the City of Culture

The news that sectarian violence is still fermenting away beneath the facade of a city which sells its self as a place which after centuries of religious battles is now at the forefront of cultural renewal.We must ask ourselves what this cultural renewal represents. Is it tied to a belief that by cleaning up ifs Docks and over loading city centres with cafes,cloths shops,shopping malls and endless coffee the image of corporate culture will somehow affect the reality of the moment? Glasgow is a City built on violence and class/religious hatred. Note I say hatred. Historically religious violence is played out in Belfast/Dublin, but this convenient historical manipulation as always shrouded the reality. Working class identifies have been subsumed under a media driven obsession concerned with niceness and middle class,suburban sensibilities. Corporate ideologies promotes the city as a place of "cutting edge" vitality. An image feed by the Cultural Industries and if fascination with youth.
The actuality is another reality.Corporate identifies have permeated into all aspects of fantasy realities. Football is now so over loaded with with celebrity values and a strange need to play up the role of family.Forget the fact that corporate power,by its very nature,under values the fabric of family and community. The news that sectarian violence is now coming to the fore in Glasgow should not have hit the media with the force it delivered.
Working class values have been neglected for years. This argument highlights the sense of alienation felt by most communities which co exist within our cities. People and their values have been forgotten. Separate identifies are what made the city the force it became in modernity. The news of the violence bubbling away under the surface of cultural/corporate identity should not have surprised any one with an interest in the development of globalisation and neo capitalist beliefs.We exist in a vacuum of forgetfulness.To speak about hate and power is to disrupt the lie.
Corporate power is about the lie. we exist within its glittering spectacle with out thinking.
Glasgow is only the start of a nightmare returning. Football is the place where factions gather. Violence is always under the surface. Violence never went away we simply forgot its awful power.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

times are changing..could be interresting

Its been a while my friends but the times have been confusing and disorienting. Cut backs came and organisation developed a sort of collective angst which didn't seem to go anywhere. I had no sense of collective anger or concern. Maybe its me. Maybe I wanted to feels that romantic coming together, a sense of anger ,danger even a touch of violence. But,maybe its me.I felt a closing down of the collective and a retreat behind high walls. The cultural industries have forgotten their existence. Maybe its me.What anger there was remained entrapped behind separate boundaries. The Arts Cuts was a non event. That's the problem with this industry it wanders around in a daze of self congratulation not wanting to disrupt the hand that feeds them.It all fells so old and safe.That's the secret and the power of walls. In realty they are deceptive,walls serve a double function,they keep people out and keep people in. Like wise the cultural industries trap themselves behind a false sense of importance the Arts in England are tourist traps and safe traps. In a sense we are living through the times of suburban domination.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Pete and Joan

Always lurking in the shadows of this history is the confusing impact of the Arts Lab movement, a self confessed,radical alternative to the arts scene of the late 1960s early 70s. Just how important this short lived development really was is debatable,never the less the impact on Oval and the thinking of Pete and Joan would have been partially influenced by the arrival of this short lived explosion. But the melting pot was becoming explosive,young people where declaring war on their elders and like the elders declared war on their off springs.Much as been written about those distant years,much of it covered in the glow of nostalgic self delusion .Never the less a "something"was coming together,a fusion of ideas,talents, dramas,dreams, actions.Experimentation mixed with a healthy disregard for the tyranny of the script open the doors into a new dimension. Improvisation was played out in the arts form of demonstrations and street theatre. A glorious sense of being young at the right time began to dominate the aura of alternative thinking. New ideas emerged from the growth of underground news papers and alternative books shops. Truth be told the new ideas where revamped philosophical ideologies from the 20s/30s40s/and 50s. Change was in the air but the change was superficial. What really occurred was the discovery of individuals freedoms at the expense of collective action,The Me Generation, grow out of the alternative explorations of an elite grouping who felt the change in media manipulation and set about exploiting the welcoming maze opening up before them. Capitalism was never the issue with the alternative mind set. Indeed, what happen was a new aggressive dynamism took hold.The alternative became the new "in". But within Oval House there developed a process which embraced change as a means of challenging the ideas which would fossilise within months of taking root. Pete and Joan put young people at the centre of the "club" The young person became a creative force who could explore their frustrations, dreams, ambitions in a place of welcoming and safety. Pete and Joan understood the role of exploration in the psychic of young people.This one simple,demanding,idea allowed for that special spark to ignite the imagination of a group who wanted the chance and the space in which their ideas and ambitions could grow into the seeds of a wonderful garden.