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Fun in the Sun
July/August 2009

Summertime, and the livin' is full of media suggestions on where to go and what to do. And what busy times we live in! This festival, that live event, the other public "happening" — the surface of our society bubbles and glistens with activity. There is something for everybody, is there not? Surely only the uptight, the deeply repressed or the wantonly pessimistic (all traditional left-wing code words for conservative) could fail to enjoy the fruits of what, we are told, is a Golden Age of Arts and Leisure. Looking at the listings pages, the head should be spinning at the range of choices.

So why does my heart sink? Could it be that for years I've tried manfully to enter into the spirit, to be part of something I sense is going against my personal grain, causing me (if you'll excuse the disgusting imagery) to rub up against myself all the time? Have you, like me, secretly felt, in certain circumstances and locales, that you have been parachuted behind enemy lines?

Of course, if you work in certain parts of the media, such a feeling will be recognisable as virtually a way of life. This is particularly true of the arts division. The smug and inward-looking atmosphere in London media clubs, such as the Groucho or Soho House, has occasionally driven me, when waiting for colleagues or friends, ostentatiously to read the Daily Mail and mutter "Too true, too true!" to nobody in particular. This is of course a bit juvenile, so it's a relief that one of the better aspects of the ageing process is the discovery that you needn't pretend any more, indeed, that you might well have valid intellectual reasons for your closeted sense of antipathy to a place or event and those populating it. 

So, with the days warm and the evenings long, I offer a brief, personal anti-list of places from local to global in which to feel wretched, together with a suggested antidote.

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July 17th, 2009
3:07 AM
What do you really expect! Everybody is just doing what they were taught to do my the advertising industry and the commercial media (the purpose of which is to bring potential consumers to the advertisers). Everything has been reduced to a banal consumer item. And I mean everything. A new book titled This Little Kiddy Went To Market by Sharon Beder tels us how the indoctrination process works. Of course Sharon is not very popular in right-thinking circles! There have been many other books and essays etc which have told us the same thing. The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard and Captains of Consciousness by Stuart Ewen being two in particular. Plus with rare exception most artists are just reflecting the zeitgeist of the times. Perhaps you would suggest Fox "news" as an uplifting alternative?

Robert Sharpe
July 4th, 2009
11:07 AM
Peter Whittle, you have hit a dozen nails on the head here. Well done and God Save (the real) England!

Yoo Hoo
June 29th, 2009
9:06 AM
"This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions" asks the little box. I wonder if you could ask a similar question of your contributors? It might at least winnow out the stuff that wouldn't even pass muster for a student parody of the Mail. Risibly poor. If civilisation is defended by means like this, I hope that babarians win. And if not them, at least the Brightonians.

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