8 comments on “Absolutely fascinating

  1. On the other hand, you could claim that Art will thrive on near legal drugs.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  2. THe point is though that state funded arts is entirely predicated on the funding of arts that the market won’t support, because there is insufficient demand for them. Like, opera. There is a market for opera, but it isn’t prepared to pay as much as it costs for enormous flashy operas in gigantic opera houses. The free market for opera is for smaller scale, more modest affairs.

    So, using the argument that for some mysterious reason having a fucking huge opera house is essential for the survival of one’s culture/civilisation/race/species, “the public” have to make up the difference.

    “Arts” will certainly thrive in the free market. It just won’t be the “arts” that the Elect want.

  3. If you like the opera just fly over to Berlin. Hard on those not fit enough to fly, but you can’t have everything. So, yeah, scrap the Arts Council.

    (Or fund the opera with a special sumptuary tax on things bought by very wealthy Londoners. Because, by some coincidence, it’s to London that all these subsidies flow.)

  4. Ian B.

    I’d certainly be in favour of much smaller opera productions, who knows they might even be attended by people who actually like music.

  5. Ian B,

    Like, opera. There is a market for opera, but it isn’t prepared to pay as much as it costs for enormous flashy operas in gigantic opera houses. The free market for opera is for smaller scale, more modest affairs.

    Actually, Glyndebourne isn’t that much smaller than Covent Garden, seating 1200 compared to around 2200. And their performances frequently get good reviews.

    But as an opera goer, I’m convinced that you could cut the subsidies and run it all as free market. One of the big costs is that opera companies put on at least 1 “hard” opera when touring, and the fact is that almost no-one wants to watch Nixon in China or Elektra. They want something with tunes, where a fat woman dies at the end.

    And things like tickets and programmes are far too cheap (especially as they’re full). You can get a seat at the opera for £15. Double that, and you pretty much don’t need a subsidy.

  6. Once you do away with opera you could carry on dumbing down so much of public paid activity.

  7. a special sumptuary tax on things bought by very wealthy Londoners

    Given that very wealthy Londoners are the people who pay the most tax in the first place, this probably works out about right.

    Not sure about Tim’s characterisation of the original piece as “art thrives”. “Art suffers, but not all art stops” seems more accurate.

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