The blog of Irish composer and political activist (especially for the Palestinian cause) Raymond Deane – http://raymondmdeane.blogspot.co.uk/ . In particular, read the article on how he came to take up the cause of Palestinian solidarity. A courageous man.
I’m in a remote part of northern Argentina, with only limited internet access (and very slow). Blogging will be resumed in a few days!
The Blog of the day is that of my old friend Mikel Toms, whose recent entry on My Worst Concert Ever has gone viral – see also, amongst other things, his hilarious piece on conducting the music for a Slutcracker production! Fantastic, extremely funny but highly intelligent writing – a new Bill Bryson in the making?
(As I had little time or internet access yesterday, I wasn’t able to add a Blog/Site of the Day, hence two today!)
One of the very best Marxist blogs around is that by Richard Seymour, author of The Liberal Defence of Murder, The Meaning of David Cameron (both highly recommended), and American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with everything on the blog, there is no entry which is not worth reading.
My recommendation for the day – a blog absolutely always worth reading, by composer, organist and intellectual Lauren Redhead. Endlessly stimulating and thoughtful material on new music, aesthetics, and wider areas.
As detailed in an article in The Guardian, an independent study has suggested that there has been a drop of 15 000 applications for higher education in the UK compared to 2010 – http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/aug/09/tuition-fees-increase-15000-less-applicants .
I would be very surprised if it is the rich and privately educated who are being deterred from applying – the real agenda behind the tuition fee increases, which will leave students with higher averagedebts than in any other developed country (including the US) is for the privileged to move a step further towards re-claiming higher education as their own property. Gradually, the post-war era has seen a very significant expansion of the demographic of students entering HE, especially during the New Labour era. With this has come a less deferential and more critical attitude to many fields of study, especially in the arts and humanities, with formerly hallowed ‘great works’ being held up to critical scrutiny in terms of the ideologies contained therein with respect class, gender, race, sexuality, imperialistic attitudes, militarism, and much more (though classical music, the most haut-bourgeois of the arts, took some time to catch up, and such an approach is anathema to many of this music’s listeners). This phenomenon infuriates those who would prefer to use the arts as some sort of means for instilling aesthetic discipline and instilling a sense of respect for authority and tradition. This perspective cannot have been absent from current government policy.
Recommended Blog for today – Tim Rutherford Johnson’s blog ‘The Rambler’, presenting a wide range of information and perspectives on new music – http://johnsonsrambler.wordpress.com/
Hi everyone – just to say that some proper blog posts will follow soon, but I’m on holiday at the moment and not at the computer so often. Another blog/site of the day will follow later!
I am going to endeavour to provide a link each day to a blog or other website of which I think highly. Today’s is the excellent blog on contemporary politics by Neil Schofield/Serenus Zeitblom – Notes from a Broken Society . Every post and perspective presented on this blog is well worth reading.
So, here is my new blog! Hopefully the last post will give a good idea of what not to expect! I’ve been something of an internet junkie for well over 10 years, making ample use of social media, online fora, chat rooms, Messenger software and Skype, and also have a website (about to be re-launched after I’ve finished getting some other information together, hopefully this week – will give just one post about that when it’s up). But I’ve held off blogging for quite a while, until now! Those who are Facebook friends will be familiar with my common device of placing a quite ‘leading’ comment or opinion to stimulate wide-ranging debate – and I have a fantastic group of friends on there who will always come up with fantastic responses. Here it is a bit different – I need to present longer pieces or more complete arguments, rather than simply throwing out thoughts. That is for me more often the business of scholarly or other articles, so judging the right ‘middle way’ for the tone here may be a challenge!
So what am I hoping to achieve here? I have many convictions equally about music and culture on one hand, and society and politics on the other (not that I would see the former as separate from the latter). And being involved both in scholarly musicological debates and to some extent historical ones as well, and also being active as a performer, I’d like to think I’m in a pretty good position to undertake some marrying of these distinct perspectives.
Above all, I do see music as a form of social practice, which is never wholly autonomous of a social (and thus political) context. How exactly the very detail of music interacts with this context is the issue which continues to exercise me, and I hope to explore more about this here. But this blog isn’t purely about music, or cultural politics – we will see how it goes, but I envisage posting about all sorts of things.
What the blog won’t be is simply a musician’s travelogue, or primarily a place for self-promotion. I will endeavour as far as possible to avoid its being too self-important or the like.
Right now it’s late here (I’m in Argentina at the moment, about to have a proper holiday), and I’m awaiting my wonderful, wonderful wife Lindsay, who will arrive here early in the morning! So I will try and write something more extended and coherent tomorrow! In the meantime, it’s great to join the blogosphere, and when I’ve figured out more about how this all works, I will start linking to lots of other good blogs I know!