By accident yesterday, as I was driving back from the off-licence, loaded up with cheap red wine, savoury nachos and garlic dip, I caught some Radio 4 arts programme.
Front Row, I think.
They were discussing the ‘artist’s studio’ and whatever impact this may have had on the output of painters like Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst and others.
I listened for a few minutes, appalled at the hushed reverence with which these worthy ’60’s academic throwbacks discussed Bacon’s messy shithole of a studio or Hirst’s ‘academy’ (as they tentatively described it).
A one point they mentioned a photograph of a some famous studio and, how ironic, I nearly laughed, it contained a painting of another studio, and this studio was different from the one in the photograph!
What a load of toss, I thought, it’s just a fucking studio. They’ll be talking about the turpentine used to clean the paint brushes next.
Thing is, the last time I looked at a Damien Hirst painting, down at the Tate, I thought it was great. It was just a load of coloured dots on a canvas, and there was nothing especially ground-breaking about it (and I don’t know how much he contributed in terms of personally splashing paint onto the canvas), but it was fun.
I’d have paid a tenner for it at a car boot sale, no worries. Well, a fiver at least.
But here on Radio 4, we had some worthies speaking in reverential tones about rooms. If I wanted to know about rooms I’d watch 60 Minute Makeover.
If I’m honest, the people on this programme seemed nice people; very learned and sincere. And I’m sure the point they were making, that environment has an effect on creativity, is worth a bit of a chat, but there must be hundred of excellent painters and sculptors, and conceptual types who string up bits of paper on trees and stuff, who have never, and will never get their works mentioned on Radio 4, never mind have their workplace discussed and analysed.
It’s all a bit dusty.
A bit limited.
Anyway, disgruntled by the timidity of Radio 4’s output, as well as their extremely limited imagination (can they only talk about people who lived and worked within a three mile radius of Broadcasting House?), I parked my VW, dug around the boot for out a suitable cd, popped that in the machine and turned it up loud.
To misquote Hanns Johst, whenever I hear the word culture, I play some Motorhead.
And I laughed all the way home.