Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

This idea that there’s something Posh about culture really upsets me. It really upsets me because the liberating nature of a beautiful piece of art, whether it’s music, whether it’s paint on canvas, whether it’s a poem, whether it’s a book, or whether it’s a play. It’s plays that I first plugged into as a kid. It’s so immensely important to your mental health, the simple ability to step outside your own brain. It’s meditative. It’s quasi-religious. It’s an ability to step outside the quotidian, The Daily Grind, to actually rise above the minutiae of your daily existence and soar into Uncharted Territory. It is a thing of absolute Beauty. And if you are laughing at me now, that is tragic because it means you don’t know what I’m talking about, which means you’ve never had that experience, which, means you’ve never been lucky enough to have a teacher or a parent or a friend or an accidental encounter with some music, you’ve never had that experience. Maybe some people get it at the football, actually at an amazing sporting event, which can be a mixture of religious and Theatrical, when you feel yourself soaring… I had a spiritual experience but I’ve had that experience in theaters and I’ve had that experience in my own home listening to a certain piece of music or reading a book. And why why why in this country are the words I have just said in any way emblematic of something that is linked to social class. Why I do not get it, I do not get it at all… Why is this country a place where we are told from a very early age, that the inner life, the imagination, the magic of art and culture, is something that is the sole Preserve of the wealthy, or the privileged. Where does that come from? …it breaks my heart.

— James O’Brien, from “This idea that there’s something posh about culture really upsets me” (LBC, Friday November 11, 2022)

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