The Middle Of The Middle Of The Road
Are out tastes becoming blander? Are we getting less adventurous?
I happened to glance at the London Times’ arts section and found their weekly full-page ads for concerts. The breadth of imagination on display would fit through the eye of a needle. A grisly lineup of ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, fireworks, waltzes, very popular classics and ballroom dancing. Alice in Wonderland makes an appearance, doing what I’m not sure. It’s a wonder they haven’t squeezed Sherlock Holmes in there somewhere. It feels like a lineup assembled in some alternative-timeline novel wherein the Germans won the war.
This is Great Britain roaring into a new future in the early part of the 21st century, listening to jobbing orchestras knocking out the theme music to ‘Star Wars’.
Meanwhile, the BBC has added a new annual event to their roster, the John Le Carré adaptation. Locations will be glamorous and European, the dialogue leaden, the pace stately. Ideas are not welcome. Any males auditioning for the lead will be expected to expose chests or bottoms, the way women used to be exploited in the seventies.
But of course the BBC is still in the seventies. So is the Le Carré novel. So is the BBC’s audience. We are imprisoned by the middle of the middle of the road. Most plays in London are around 50 years old. Most English films are set in an imperial past. The population is ageing. The young are abandoning recklessness to get on with their careers. Clubbing is dead. Experimental creativity is dead. We are like Time Out’s Dubai magazine, which only lists restaurants and retail opportunities. The world is becoming one great big Coldplay album.
Why is this happening? Demographics, largely – the population is ageing. Economic uncertainty, definitely. In the depression years nonsensical musicals ruled cinema. At least we have Marvel movies – except that their plot lines are from the 1960s. The Black Panther first appeared in 1966.
Will we break out of it? After 2030, by some predictions. Meanwhile, let’s all enjoy pop-up street food and more reruns of ‘Dad’s Army’.