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Friday, 22 August 2008

Poor old Bob...

...the more people found out about him (me?), the less they seemed to like him (us?) That's the trouble, you see, when you go for the old tortured artist, soul-exposure schtick, I suppose. Civilization requires of us a certain reticence and, though it's the artist's predicament (or duty, perhaps) to kick agianst such restraint, as with most things, the need is often there for a very good reason: in this case, self-protection. You see, people are indubitably selfish at the best of times, but audiences (and, yes, I would stretch that to encompass the likes of you too, dear reader) are especially so. Because we don't just want to watch or listen or read, do we? We want, having been duly entertained, to have our tu'pennorth too. And that's when *we* the audience become artists ourselves - artists of *appraisal*; connoisseurs of cavil. Then all reticence and restraint goes out of the window because - and you'll all know this to be true if you've ever so much as worn an unorthodox shoelace in public for a mufti day lark - if there's one thing on the planet that's more selfish even than an artist, it's ...yep, you guessed it.... the *CRITIC*.

And whereas old timer dudes like Matthew Arnold at least had the decency to do a bit of research into the whole span of humanity's artistic endeavour before squaring up the the world of art and proncouncing upon matters cultural, your modern critic needs little more than a barely skimmed through copy of the Daily Mail/Grauniad and - I'm adding this bit for (hopefully) comic effect, but you can probably come up with your own (and better) defining characteristics that you visualise when you think of a critic - a pair of Jesus boots. And that's your *educated*, graduate material critic. Drop down a few rungs of the social ladder and you're really taking your life in your own hands if you dare to so much as *think* about doing something vaguely stimulating, creative or that challenges your audience to do more than fart during the ad breaks.

So poor old Bob - I must stop talking about myself this way, but it's a bit disorienting when you have continually to refer to yourself in the past tense like this ... you try it for size and see if you don't believe me - poor Bob committed the ultimate sin, really. He tried to move from the *audience* on to the *stage*. "Nobody", as John Lennon told Neil Aspinall when his idea to do a reprise of the 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band' song towards the end of the album had been agreed by the band, "likes a smart arse." Neither, it would seem, do audiences like a deserter.

L.U.V. on y'all,

Once was Bob




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