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Thoughts on Present Discontents: I. Money and Art

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Apologies for the rambling thoughts below, but I feel as though they should be aired to gauge a wider opinion. At this point one must admit his inexperience in the popular music industry.

I suppose first one must determine what is art and what is a product - I suppose also one could say that art is dominated by product. I never felt the previous statement to be truer than certain recent events of a more personal nature.

Reality television seems to have become a somewhat popular venture to its, now, epidemical state. "Talent" shows spurn from money-hungry producers such as X Factor and Britain's Got Talent attract huge audience figures and essentially round up the herd to choose what ever act they think are most "talented" judged by a panel of Britain's most talentless saps.

I think it's incredibly clear to see these processes are fixed and furthermore these processes are demeaning, demoralising and essential these talent shows become a human circus and apparently people like to watch human circuses; no one with an ounce of real talent should be subjected this mockery.

Classical music, I think, is less of a product and more of an art. Often musicians aren't in the industry for big bucks, in fact, the more talented you become you more money you will therefore make. Talent is often something that is bypassed in the popular industry - correct me if I am wrong but we often hear that dog-faced arsehole Simon Cowell utter the phrase 'you've got the voice, but there's nothing special about you' or 'I mean, what are you wearing?' or maybe 'you're just not attractive enough' - Cowell has this enormous super power that allows him to undress whoever stands in front of his immortal state and value them at a price; if that price is too low, you're out. I fear that he bases his entire judgment, talent or not, on money and business.

Not that it is my place but classical musicians shouldn't be subjected to this mockery either. Cowell may refer you as boring or as a bad singer - you may well be both - but he has already, in the batter of an eye-lid, put a price tag on you.

If a classical singer or ensemble goes for these talent shows, I sincerely believe that nothing good will become of it - from what is in the market at the moment we can see that classical repertory won't be a consideration, with possible exceptions for 'Nessun Dorma' and 'O mio babbino caro'; your talent will be squashed into something entirely marketable - this isn't art, in fact it's a sad, sad, reality. Recently examples of this include tenor Alfie Boe.

Ideally, I'd like every musical and cultural industry to be free without the leash of mongrels such as Cowell, though so far classical music has managed to stay out of this farce - I've put classical music on a mountain presiding over the rest (as classical music is commonly perceived) though it does annoy me that talented artists of whatever genre are snubbed because they refuse to become a "product".

Another marketable figure in the classical music scene at the moment is James Rhodes, he has all the features of a rock star, though is a classical pianist, of sorts. In fairness to him he has made of point of introducing young and intrigued people to classical music - this is a huge feat, which previously has been overlooked - though unfortunately Rhodes has been pushed too far, he skill as a pianist is minute and his performances are reckless, inaccurate and often entirely wrong. Rhodes belongs to the record label 'Warner Rock' - these guys no how to market a rock star but not a classical pianist. Rhodes is clearly a figure rather than a talented pianist - which might not be a bad thing for business, but for art one must profusely object.

Within all of this there is a fundamental point of exploitation that all boils down to a matter of money and not art - I only can wish it were not this way but I suppose that money makes the world go round.

This isn't an article of much point and I don't expect much, if anything, to come of these words, instead these are one's thoughts on a particular discontent.