The Further Adventures of Phyllis Stein

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

I’ve just been listening to the Radio 4 featurette, “What’s the point of the Arts Council”. Amongst the pundits whining about public funds going to one-legged black lesbians, somebody was saying something about arts funding in, say, Bristol being down to old buffers who haven’t been to a theatre since <e.Arsenic and Old Lace

Er, not quite. When I was a member of Bristol City Council a while back, the brand of philistinism I was up against was that kind of inverted snobbery masquerading as populism. There was a very heated Labour Group meeting once where the matter of funding the Bristol Old Vic – a major national treasure – came up. Speaker after speaker condemned it as unworthy of funding. Why, it was the sort of place people from Redland went to, and people from Redland – students, teachers, academics, young professionals, mostly – were the lowest of the low. I came in for a lot of stick that evening – I was, after all, the councillor for Redland…

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