I’ve lost count of the the number of times I’ve heard a pop song on the radio followed by listeners saying, “Is that it? I could have written that!” The simplicity of the form (that’s why it’s so catchy!) can sometimes make it sound obvious, almost like you’ve heard it before. I heard a story once about Sir Paul McCartney who when he first wrote the famous song, Yesterday, thought the melody so familiar that someone must have already written it. It’s not just music either. Without a doubt, every time I visit the Rothko paintings at the Tate Modern in London, the audience is split. One group will be standing in quite contemplation, staring deep beyond the picture, awaiting the vibrant red canvas to give up its secrets. The other half will walk past and say something along the lines of, “Well...it’s just a red square isn’t it? I mean...I could have done that!”
But they didn’t. Lets be honest, thinking of a great idea immediately after you’ve seen the same idea which had been previously thought up by someone else...well, it’s not a hard won skill is it? The wheel? Well, I coulda thought of that...
This week has been one of those times where a complex idea was deemed to be easy, and something which looked so simple on paper was probably the most challenging moment of my week. If we don’t include concentrating on the music whilst the extraordinary Barbara Hannigan sang and danced a few feet away from me…
El Sistema this, El Sistema that...there have been times over the last few years when I’ve grown sick and tired of hearing about the music education method famous for producing Gustavo Dudamel from within the ranks of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Every time they appear in Britain, the press go into a frenzy. The jackets! The twirling instruments! The dancing! Of course, celebrating young musicians is wonderful and I’m delighted that it receives coverage in the mainstream media, and for the record, I happen to think that they are brilliant!. I just wish the coverage didn’t often have the subtext of I wish we had stuff like this in Britain. Of course, it’s not just the media, music students can be just as bad. I can guarantee that when regular visiting orchestras come to London, students are fighting to get hold of a ticket, but when they can get a £5 ticket using the excellent Student Pulse App for a London based orchestra, suddenly that essay that had been meaning to get around to writing demands to be written. It seems to be a feature of being British. That self deprecating humour that we’re famous for and foreigners find endearing (so I’m told) often also manifests itself in being unable or unwilling to celebrate our own home grown talent. In short,(look away UKIP) if it’s from overseas, it must be better.
This is my personal blog. All views are my own and are not endorsed by any of the organisations I work for.