Moderator: John Robb
Speakers: Ed Lilo, Jayne Casey, Jon McClure, Paula Stewart
With school music spending down and the benefits system crippled there are murmurs that the voices of pop have lost their bite. The great cultural tide that surged through the 1960s and beyond, the sea change that swept the McCartneys, Finneys, Bakewells, Courtenays, Baileys, Bennetts et al to positions of influence and eminence has ebbed and turned.
It is clear that cuts to benefits, the disappearance of the art school and the harsh cost of further and higher education are pricing the working class out of careers in the arts and making it increasingly a playground for the comfortably off. These so called ‘rock toffs’ such as James Blunt, Mumford and Sons, Coldplay, Laura Marling, Eliza Doolitle, Lily Allen, Florence Welch, Pixie Lott, La Roux and Mark Ronson are starting to become the prevalent forces in pop culture
Is the current economic climate returning the practice of art to what it was 300 years ago – a rich fellow’s diversion? Have we become a nation where ubiquitous talent contests explicitly reject collectivity, preferring instead to celebrate rampant individualism and the acquisition of wealth and fame above all else. Or are we just over reacting and restating the age old working class argument that posh kids should lay off pop culture?