Wednesday, 31 December 2014

editorial


I had forgotten about my favourite piece of editing. In [many years ago] I sent a piece to the Sunday Times which included the paragraph:

Archbishop Foley’s point is that the Catholic confession depends on feedback. Many secular confessionals, to their infinitesimal credit, do give this; Daily Confession asks for comments on the revelations people make.

The edited version read:

Archbishop Foley’s point is that the Catholic confession depends on feedback. Many secular confessionals, to their infinite credit, do give this; Daily Confession asks for comments on the revelations people make.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

rise, kill and eat

Have you ever thought about the typography of Alien? Not enough, you haven't. 

I'll go out on a biblical limb and claim right off the bat that you cannot show me, through the balance of the Bible, that the God of the Scripture is against the responsible killing and the grilling of the animals He created, says Doug Giles.

Much less nutty is Ralph Myers, who wrote a really excellent thing about the effects of arts management (in Australia) being in the hands of business people rather than artists. Here's a long messy portmanteau quotation.

There are a raft of reasons why this is the case, and some of them are broader cultural trends ... However, this itself does not explain their almost total dominance. The real reason is that businesspeople are on boards is very practical – they’re there to raise money.

It has been noted often that government support for the major performing arts companies and festivals has been declining, in real terms, for decades. The companies have adapted to this by attempting to increase revenue from elsewhere – at the box office where they can – but primarily through cadging money from the private sector ... This has lead to overwhelming pressure to appoint well-connected and/or wealthy people to the boards of our companies ... [G]overnments have been encouraging, measuring and facilitating private and corporate giving to the arts as a way to deflect pressure on the public purse. Nugent rightly forced companies to be more accountable and financially responsible, but the consequence is that they rapidly became more corporate too ... I want to focus on its effect on that other key role of the board, the appointment of the artistic director ...

We like people with similar mindsets to us. People who think like us. This is natural thing. We understand them and thus we like people like us better than those who are not. We speak the same language, we can empathise with them, and we instinctively trust them. So, it should come as no surprise to us that boards, when charged with the task of finding a new AD, are appointing people who they instinctively trust and understand. People like them.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

there is a glimmer of hope for us all


I tore something out of a copy of either Metro or The Evening Standard one day last week. It opened:

For proof there's a glimmer of hope for us all, look at the unbelievable transformation Hugh Laurie has had in his career.

Who would ever have imagined, when Hugh Laurie was a mere rowing blue and star of the Cambridge Footlights that there was ever a glimmer of hope for him? Almost unimaginably he went on to be a comic actor and then made the extraordinary leap into being serious actor. It must give everyone the same glimmer of hope that we too could somehow emerge from his humble circumstances to be stars of American prime time dramas like his fellow old Etonians Dominic West and Damian Lewis.

For clarity, I love Hugh Laurie (The Gun Seller is my favourite novel by a comedian), and I think Dominic West and Damian Lewis are also excellent. I am just being mean about a cliche knocked out by some overworked guy who has to produce twenty 200 word pieces a day.

(Unlucky if you were not quick enough to get a Mighty Fin ticket. I said you had to be quick.)