Monday, June 27, 2005

Waiting For The Dreams

Apathy Jack writes:

Ben from Dog Biting Men recounted a conversation he had recently about taxpayer money funding the arts. Capitalist running dog that he is, Ben was against it, and raised the point that art, being of no intrinsic value, should be paid for by them that wants it, not by Joe Taxpayer. To prove the Libertarian-esque problems in this argument (ie, that no one would buy something that they didn’t have to), whoever he was talking with asked how much he had spent on art recently.

After a few calculations, Ben figured out that, between CDs by New Zealand musicians, the three pieces he has bought by New Zealand artists, and the money he has donated to a New Zealand film production, he has spent roughly two thousand dollars on local art in the first half of 2005.

The dreams I had at University are a matter of public record, and probably quite tiresome for anyone who has been reading my various web-projects for the last few years: I was surrounded by the most amazing talent, the most incredible ideas, the brightest and most brilliant minds that I could believe. Sadly, said brainmeats were contained in the bodies of pathologically lazy borderline alcoholics. It was a source of huge frustration to me that I never saw the fruits of our barroom plottings. I wanted us to be the center of the New Renaissance. Ten years from our graduation, I wanted us running the Art of this city.

Astute readers will have noticed that this dream has not yet reached fruition.

But you know, there does seem to be something of the renaissance in this area. Those that I know are being creative, and it makes me happy. It gives me just a small thrill that of the nine odd pieces of proper art (definition: Not my Christina Aguilera posters) that will be hanging in my new flat, six of them will be by people I know.

The creativity is, at last, quantifiable. For a start, there’s this place. Sure, blogs are stupid and pointless and suck, but it’s a creative outlet, and I like that. Over and above giving me somewhere to whinge, it also gives me a nice convenient hub to read the brain discharge of a group of creative people whose writing I like. (And one can’t forget the other projects by the Brainstabbers – as found located in the convenient sidebar labelled ‘Vanity’.) Also, crap as your average webjournal is, it is nice to see the odd person like my old comrade Span(ner Grrl in the works) forgo the diary stuff that most people engage in to actually discuss something a) relevant and b) that they know about (in this case; the Sport of Kings – Politics).

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that one of the highlights of this year so far was attending Jellybean’s first exhibition. That pervert has been a friend of mine for a while now, and I’m an unashamed fan of his artistic output. To see it fully realised like that was probably almost as much fun for me as it was for him.

I like the fact that my friend Mary Magdalene is having success selling her art. I like the fact that there are more and more updates on the progress of the debut album from Stars and the Underground. I like that I can go to an exhibition by my friend Fern, and think “I have coffee with the person who created these amazing things.” I like that my friends Nick and Nat have turned heretofore unproductive alcoholism into a nice looking website to help drinkers everywhere. I like the fact Ben hasn’t written anything on Dog Biting Men for a while because he’s too busy being paid to write a politics column for the National Business Review.

I like the fact that my friend Raj produced a short film that was downloaded and watched by two million odd people around the world. And more than that, I like the fact that he is currently wrapping up filming on his next project, which, considering this one has a budget of, well, money (unlike the first one which was made with Number 8 Fencing Wire and Positive Thoughts) should be worth watching for. ‘Quentin Tarantino’s Little Red Riding Hood’ – You’ve been warned.

I remember walking through town after my friend Dryad had given me a painting she had done. A man smoking in a doorway called after me. I had the small piece half wrapped in tissue paper, but he had glimpsed it and was so intrigued that he got me to come back and show him. He was amazed by it, and spent a few minutes alternately waxing poetic about the amount of depth that had been squeezed into such a small space, and going “Fuck... I mean, just... Fuck.”

When I told him that a friend of mine had just given it to me, he said “You’re a lucky guy.” All I could say by way of reply was “Yes. I am.”


HORansome said...

On a serious note, buying CDs (unless you are buying directly from the band) is by no means funding the artist. To use a crude analogy, thinking that buying CDs funds musical talent is like thinking that buying petrol funds Porsche car design. Unless you happen to be a really big name band (say, like Coldplay) your funding comes from playing gigs and selling merchandise directly. Record companies recoup their losses in production from sales, which means that, by and large, bands don't make money from their recordings, they simply get exposure. So Ben really should be discounting his CD buying and focussing more on his gig attendance.

RSJS said...

Rather a broad assumption that Ben is buying his kiwi music CDs at shops rather than gigs, where the bands do get the profits from their sales.

Ben Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Johnny the Red said...

as one of the "brainmeats ... contained in the bodies of pathologically lazy borderline alcoholics", i would just like to say - I am not an alcoholic.

Apathy Jack said...

You were drunk as you typed that, weren't you?

RSJS said...

Ben says the most cryptic things...

damian_nz said...

fuck you're cool.

you should write more. lots more.

Psycho Milt said...

"Sure, blogs are stupid and pointless and suck..."
And then there's Brain Stab, which kicks ass rather than sucks it. No shit, this blog is great.

span said...

i think you may have said my blog is not crap. thanks :-)

stef said...

People still buy CDs?

I like to think of government subsidies to art as a crutch given to sick person. Eventually you've got to get off your fucking arse and work