Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why stop at a Director of Strangeness for the Arts Council?

Year ago my driver in Siam Reap admitted he did not like western classical music - it all sounded like noise to him. We laughed because what I hear as the ping pang pong of Cambodian music all sounds just like noise to me. We agreed the issue was that we could not access each other's music. Like a totally foreign language, we could not hear where one noise ended and another began: our respective classical traditions were strange to each other.

Strange is something I frequently want to overcome - or at least understand. Strange leads to action. Diversity, on the other hand, is supposed to be "a good thing" in its own right. We are not meant to want to overcome it, we are just meant to love it for its own sake. Where is the opportunity for transformation or progress in that?

Mark Robinson's somewhat tongue in cheek idea of a Director of Strangeness for the Arts Council is actually a great one but why stop at that? Maybe all companies should have CSOs (Chief Strangeness Officers). And we should definately have a Minister for Strange in the government. Maybe we would actually start to make progress.

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