Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Question Time and The Museum of Everything...
Last week I had a day which really made me think. Not a big surprise really, considering that most days I manage to overwhelm my brain with thoughts so frequent and varied that I'm often surprised that I'm not in a mental institute. However, these particular thoughts were more lucid and seemed to fit to a certain theme so I wanted to blog about it.
Of course, because of who I am, it has taken me four days to get round to it. It all started a few weeks ago when I received my posterous subscription from India Knight's page and found out about The Museum of Everything. I wanted to go immediately and the quirky website convinced me further but I only got round to going last week as I wanted my artist friend to come with me and she's always so busy working waitressing jobs. Eventually I gave up on Artist Friend and instead took Photographer Friend, a fashion fiend who I thought would also be a good option. Incidentally turned out not. Though an artistic person, she's also pretty conventional and had dislikes the pretentiousness of art - specially the modern kind. I think she switched off as soon as she saw the placards in the museum which were written by various eminent persons who were advocating each artist and did have an air of the consciously-culturefull about them. (and yes that is a new compound adjective- I love them and inventing new ones)
I loved the museum. It was not so much the art in it, though among the pieces were some beauties, but what it represented. Diversity, value in craft, in time and in hobbies and beauty in the everyday object. The pieces had been collected from far and wide from the attics and kitchens, cupboards under the stairs and garden sheds of the world. Made by old men, madmen, those with genetic disorders, middle-aged women, nuns, priests, the strange, the gifted, black, white, brown, yellow, cream, beige and everything in between. Yes these pieces might have been levered into the spotlight by some accepted notable figures, but they were shown. Yes, they may have been shown in a warehouse building in the typically more accepting North London but it was a stones throw from Regents Park and the leafy suburbs where a certain Hamlet-player surely copulated with the Nanny. They were shown and accepted and praised. From Nek Chand, with his life-size mosaic sculptures from the mountain rock garden of Chandigarh to the Nebraskan farmer Emery Blagdon who made recycled wire mobiles which he believed possessed healing powers. Much of it was odd and some a little discomforting; the religious connotations behind some of the work seemed to me, a young person raised in a time where religion has only really meant war or Christmas trees and paper-mache angels, a little unnerving.
However, above all, this exhibition gave me hope. Hope, not for the world; that is a tad idealistic even for me, but for the art world which has recently been so often an elite club where a few men's interest means money, party invites and controversy.
I left upbeat if a little confused.
I went on to a coffee on Primrose Hill where despite my epiphany I would not have been sad to catch a glimpse of a dishevelled Jude Law and then on to my Shorthand Class.
Shorthand, I can tell is going to be the bain of my life. As a mild dyslexic and someone who did not take easily to either driving or playing piano, I knew I would find it difficult. Apparently though, my ability to chatter in French, which I thought might be my saving grace is really no help at all. I struggled. It simply does not come naturally to me and seeing some of my favourite words squashed and forced to fit into a text speak stereotype only worsened the situation. I am already sure that the only way I will ever get it will be if I practise everyday. Yawn.
However it is not Shorthand that I wish to talk about in conjunction with The Museum of Everything, though its selectiveness when it comes to letters does sort of link with what I do wish to talk about; the BNP, Nick Griffin and Question Time.
My Irish Shorthand teacher, who incidentally is far from what I had imagined a Shorthand teacher to be, having the typical Irish hedonism that renders them so attractive. Anyway Irish Teacher asked us all if we planned to watch Question Time and I and most others rather emphatically said we were. He did not seem pleased and seemed to think that his not-watching would make the point of his distaste. However he did not persuade me. Despite my reservations that the BBC should not have given The Vile Man the honour of appearing on Question Time; a program which I believe is an honour to be asked on, as it suggests you have an opinion that people are interested in.
And do you know what...
Watching The Vile Man made me feel sad. Sad, yes that this country is in such a state that Britons feel it necessary to vote for The Vile Man's party. However mostly sad for The Vile Man himself. He is a disgusting, racist sexist. However, what is he shutting himself off from in being this person is far worse. He will not accept multiculturalism, different races or different people. Therefore he has closed himself off to so much. As he blathered and stuttered through his answers only pausing to chuckle haughtily; presumably to give the illusion of comfort and control of the situation, I cringed.
This man will never be happy. This man has closed himself off to really seeing the world and will miss so many of the incredible things it has to offer because of it.
The Museum of Everything encourages individuality and undiscovered talent and mainly the cosmopolitan. Nick Griffin has and is none of these, just a small-minded man who will never understand how wonderful humanity is.
Was that a little corny, do you think?
>>Please excuse my bad punctuation and grammar if you spot any, it is almost 2am and I slept not one hour last night<<
Image of Museum of Everything (c) Sarah Hartwell