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Tennents doing the rightful job of the Scottish Arts Council or IS music unworthy of public support?
‘.‘.’orc:s: Doug Johnstone
At the recent announcement of the line-up for the T in the Fringe festival, Stuart Clumpas ~ DF Concerts supremo and the man behind the whole shebang (not to mention the man with a finger in vrrtually every contemporary musrc pie in Scotland) — took a pretty contentious sideswipe at a certain arts funding body. 'Tennents lS, in effect, the Scottish Arts Council for contemporary rock and pop,’ said Clumpas, ’because it subsidises a lot of things which the Arts Council does not. The Arts Council appears to have difficulty coming to terms with the way the contemporary music business is set up.’
Contentious, did we say? Well, maybe not. Let’s dig a bit deeper, shall we?
There are two distinct issues here. The first is the argument that contemporary music, as a commercial enterprise, should be able to run itself without the aid
Records, say, any less valid for support from an arts organisation than the Royal Lyceum Theatre? The simple answer is nothing. The only thing preventing popular musm being considered on the same footing as other areas of the arts is basic snobbery within the Scottish Arts C0uncil.
Aware that it’s gradually being found out, the SAC has started paying lip servrce to the issue, w'nic it brings us to the second pomt. Apparently, sinc e about a year ago, the SAC rs funding contemporary music, at least that’s what it claims. Last December, SAC Director Tessa Jackson told The List: This music plays an important part in the cultural life of Scotland, partiCularIy amongst young people The SAC is determined to play its part in nurturing and stimulating musical activity in each and every style ’ A formal policy document was promised by Sl)l'll‘-(l and bands around the (Ountry started drooling in antICIpation.
They needn't have l’)othered. Since that time the SA(' has managed to do precisely nothing. The policy document is due ’sometime In the summer" according to a spokesperson for the SAC, and no details on amounts of funding or strategy are available. As Clumpas puts it: ’They talk a good game, but when it comes to action they don’t even get past the first hurdle. In their hearts they clon’t really like thzs music and don’t want to fund it.’
Contemporary music acts, promoters, venues, labels and studios only want a fair crack of the xxhrp. According to the SAC mission statement: "The Scott:sn Arts Counc ll is creating a dynamic arts ermronrnent which enhances the quality of life for the people of Scotland.’ Note, this doesn't read: "The S(()lllSl7 Arts COuncil is dedicated to pumping loads of Scottish taxpayers’ money into high-bro\.v arts events vzhrc l1 they themselves like but whic h are so unpopular and ridiculously self-important that they then proceed to lose money hand over fist before scurrying back to the counc N for another hand-out ’
If the SAC really \.vantecl to ’enhance the quality of life for the people of Scotland’, then what better way than to k abandon its Current artistic snobbery and use some of Its funds to help promote modern, forward-thinkmg, original rock, pop and dance music ?
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Kile ’is out a conticie'i' '- -:-'.sar;e to us "text tr'1, scr'y, <>t>r>c>"e"t, le'v‘ox lea'us 'lt's as violent as Braveheart but there're far less entrails.’
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of funding from a government body. But Surely this argument applies to pretty much any of the
companies the Arts Council dishes out money to, be they theatre, opera, galleries, publishing companies or
whatever? What makes Chemikal Underground
With £28 million to spend,
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J.K. Rowling must wake up every single morning and rub her eyes in utter disbelief. With the latest instalment of the Harry Potter story being unveiled, the film of the book will send the Chipping Sodbury-born, Edinburgh-based writer into universal household namedom. But who is going to take the role as the wee wizard? Having begun to make a name for himself with Cannes hit Dancer, (re-named Billy Elliott) young Brit Jamie Bell has joined the race to play Potter with The Sixth Sense's Haley Joel Osment still leading the pack. And you probably thought the Spats Leonardo DiCaprio had with
Haley Joel Osment senses that he may be the filmic Harry Potter
lli(‘ S()()lT(‘l the SAC pulls its collec tive fingers out the
Christian Bale and Ewan McGregor were the stuff of the playground . . . Digital animation, it seems, is the way ahead for the next generation of filmmakers. A new Channel 4 scheme, MESH, is provrding an opportunity for young animators to work individually or develop their talent in graphics, the internet or computer games. Four young Turks wrll eventually be commrssroned to produce short films which will be broadcast during the channel’s Animation Week in autumn 2001. Application details can be found on the MESH website, www.channel4com/mesh .
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Coming quite soon . . .
Some meeting of musical minds are simply spot-on. News that Moby is set to work with Madonna while Kylie is getting down in the studio wrth Robbie makes creative and commercial sense. Now word arrives that those physical Jerks Slipknot are set to be accompanied on their label Roadrunner, by another act fond of impromptu wrestling. Tricky, a man who has been known to get slap happy with Journalists in his time, has finally found a spiritual home after a lengthy period of time in the wrlclerness since being dropped by lsland. The Christmas office party should be a riot.