Crass Composers is the new Big Brother
Here is the BBC blurb - 'Following the success of last year's series, "Visionaries" is back on BBC World News this autumn for a second series comparing some of the most extraordinary minds that have left a lasting impression on world music. Presented by Francine Stock, these landmark programmes will compare the greatest classical composers we have ever known to find the greatest composer ever.
Visionaries is a stimulating, interactive seven-part series that debates the merits of some of the most innovative and iconic composers from the field of classical music, examining the geniuses behind some of the greatest compositions.'
Glass versus Boulez - vote now, I joke not. Well, there are other ways of making music accessible, desirable and different.
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Incredible .... Wake me when they are down to Josquin v. Stockhausen.
And I was actually feeling pretty good today having dodged a flooded basement and having tuned in Sharon Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM last night just in time for the opening chords of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis tucked into the end of a "three B's weekend". Yesterday and today also featured an actual J.S. Bach cantata and the slow movement to the Mahler #5 -- a genre and a composer previously proscribed from the community-based public radio station in the Nation's Capital.
Time to put a brake on Top Gear shenanigans
Jeremy Clarkson and his mates sit on top of an armed personnel carrier to publicise their BBC-financed live show (Top Gear's big guns to take live show on £20m world tour, September 2). The tour, as Clarkson so nicely puts it, is for the world to "watch us three cocking around". So subtle: cars = guns = phallus = power = money.
This would be funny if it did not have so many destructive social effects. As Bea Campbell showed in her book Goliath, (http://www.methuen.co.uk/titles.php/itemcode/233) programmes like Top Gear encourage poor young men to steal cars and drive them lethally - the joyriding which women campaigners in Scotswood, Newcastle, have renamed "deathriding"; now Clarkson is encouraging young men to use more guns.
But Top Gear's most extensive, lethal influence is on middle England: eschew public transport (which is obviously only for old women), buy gas-guzzlers, destroy wildernesses with them, ignore speed limits, and denounce even the pathetically weak measures which the state employs against these behaviours.
The BBC used to be a public service broadcaster but this has been eroded by 30 years of neoliberal government. And the BBC's mission now evidently includes promoting environmental destruction and violence worldwide. Does a cultural left still exist in this country to organise against this barbarism?
Jamie Gough, Sheffield.
See also - http://www.overgrownpath.com/2007/01/speeding-is-no-big-deal-says-bbcs.html