Skip to main content

Art for art's sake - money for god's sake

Was part of a number by 10cc in the 1980s

Tablature for this is available along with the lyrics. (in the chorus).

Art for art's sake money for God's sake
Art for art's sake money for God's sake.
Gimme the ready Gimme the cash
gimme a bullet gimme a smash gimme a
silver gimme a gold make it a million
for when I get old

Which raises a number of questions.

The role of semantic art - music (with words), poetry, drama, fiction is not clear. What is clear is that it does not operate in isolation from reality.

Much of the saga with Bezhti has remained outside the public domain. This particular dispute was primarily driven by a large number of consultations which put the contents of the play "in the face" of the Sikh community.

I still believe that if the Birmingham Rep had not consulted on the play it would have passed with little comment. The fact was that they highlighted the whole thing with the Council of Gurdwaras then having asked them what they thought refused to change anything.

If they never were going to change anything then they should not have asked. They may have consulted with the best of intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

One of the issues which causes "consultation" problems is that frequently people "consult" when they are not going to change anything regardless of what the "consultees" say. They may "hear what you say", but that means nothing.

What really happened with Bezhti is that following the consultation fiasco, dress rehearsal and production of play it built up to a relatively low level of stress on the Wednesday with about 50 people present. This resulted in a small number of arrests. The reaction of this was

a) A meeting between the Council of Gurdwaras and the Rep Board, which was futile because noone was going to change anything

b) An increase in tension between the police and the generally law abiding religious Sikhs.

On the Saturday, therefore, the ante had been upped. There were about 500 protestors (my prediction for the Rep had been that they could hit 10,000). My sources indicate that there were non-Sikh troublemakers there who wanted trouble. They got it.

I am still not clear who was involved in the violence and vandalism that night. My sources indicate that there was involvement from others than Sikhs. Whoever was involved it was unacceptable, but if there were others out to cause trouble that is an important point.

On the Sunday the whole thing went out of control. When things go out of control there is little that can be done. The only sensible approach is to stop the key irritation.

The important point to remember is that children were attending "The Witches" which was the Christmas production for the Rep.

On the Monday, therefore, things were quite tense. Intelligence predicted a crowd of about 5,000 and that all the spare tickets had been bought up by protestors (see The Playboy of the Western World). If the event had gone ahead it would have put childen in the middle of what was a big dispute and could have continued to be violent.

Anyone who thinks the Rep should have continued to put the play on is insane. Regardless of any ideas about fighting battles for "free speech" it is totally unreasonable to put children in the middle of such a conflict. No one could validly criticise the Rep for pulling this play in the circumstances.

To me the saddest thing about the whole situation is that there were lots of ways the dispute (which got more press than the Ward End Vampire) could have been entirely avoided. Not least not using the ik onkar would have taken a lot of the tension from the play without any changes to the words of the play.

The Sikhs were particularly upset that the Rep used the phrase "It would change the flavour of the play" to justify doing something that particularly upset the Sikhs. The perception was that something that should be quite minor to the Rep was massively important to the Sikh Council, but the Rep continued to refuse to make specific changes.

In any event it is quite clear now that this play is very unlikely to be peformed in Birmingham again. It is sad that the playwright is unwilling (AFAIK) to talk about the issue to anyone willing to try to resolve the situation, but that is life.

The issue about art and its relation to reality has not had proper consideration.

The questions about the involvement of art in the death of Jodi Jones is also a live one.

There is an argument that the lyrics of Marilyn Manson were in part responsible for this sad event.

As a musician I am interested in musical theory. This relegates the issue of the lyrics to the 3rd division. Lyrics and images are, however, important.

I do think that artists need to accept responsibility for any consequences of the art that they produce.

This does not mean introducing censorship for lyrics and plays any more than exists already. However, it is an issue that does need proper consideration.

I personally think this approach is a sensible direction for responses to such matters.

Films such as "Team America - World Police" have very complex messages. It will be interesting to see how the USA responds to a film which has Michael Moore as a suicide bomber and has "Team America" going around the world blowing up Paris and Cairo.

It still brings me back to the original lyrics, however. If artists produce art that hurts other people by encouraging damaging behaviour then they should accept responsibility for that part of the behaviour they encourage.

The "money for gods sake" then can:
a) Go to compensate people for the damage.
b) Create financial responsibility will result in artistic responsibility.

I think that the current laws justify this in any event. All it requires is for someone with a "locus standii" to take action. The burden of proof in a civil action is balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt so I would think there would be cases which could prove an element of causality.


Popular posts from this blog

Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker

Statement by John Hemming
I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever.
I would like to thank Emily Cox, my children, Ayaz Iqbal (my Solicitor), my local lib dem team and many others who supported me through this dreadful experience. There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

Homelessness vs Selling Books

Candidates in elections tend to find themselves very busy with lots of things to do.  It is, therefore, necessary to prioritise things to ensure that the important things are dealt with.

To me the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is an important issue.  Therefore, when Birmingham's Faith Leaders group contacted me to ask me what I would propose and whether I would work with them to make things better I was pleased to respond with my views and indicate that I would work with them after the election.

The Faith Leaders Group (Bishops and other religious leaders in Birmingham) have now sent out their report.

Sadly, according to their report,  I was the only candidate for Yardley to respond.  The group in their report said:

"Particularly disappointing was the lack of response from some of those candidates seeking re-election as MP for their respective constituencies."
It is worth looking at the priorities of my opponent.
Interestingly today she has decided to be at th…

Millionaires and politics

The Labour Party spent most of the last election criticising me for being a successful businessman (aka millionaire). That is business in the private sector employing over 250 people. It is worth looking at the situation for the Labour Candidate now:

For the year 2016-7 Annual Income from Parliament74,962Specifically for her book51,250Other media income etc5,322.82Total declared income131,534.82

Traditionally anyone with an annual income of over £100,000 has been considered to be a millionaire. I did not use my position in parliament to increase my income.

I have been asked for sources for this. This BBC piece looks at how one should define rich. It was written in 2011 so the figures will be slightly out of date. There are perhaps 2 relevant pieces:
"In 1880 a rich person would have had £100,000 in assets or an income of £10,000 a year, he says. About a hundred people a year died leaving £100,000 and by 1910 this was 250 - "a microscopic fraction of the number of death…