Sunday, 19 January 2014

A Bad Metropolitan Novel

A Bad Novel, yesterday
Raymond Williams describes a conversation. An educated French man meets the professor. 'Alas,' he cries. 'France, you know, is a bad bourgeois novel.' The professor replies. 'Ah me, England's the same. And New York is a bad metropolitan novel. Unfortunately, you can't send them back to the library.'
(Drama in a Dramatized Society)

Fortunately, I live in Glasgow: it's an avant-garde production, mixed media and very visual. In a city like this, it is hard to understand why anyone needs to go to the theatre. As I walked to the CCA, a busker was improvising a new tune. The chorus was 'I hate buskers.' Self-reflectivity, much?

Williams point might be that it isn't so much that culture has become more like art or fiction but that the tools used to study art are now transferable. My campaign to turn the whole world into critics might end up with lovers rating each other ('rather derivative of 1970s soft-porn, darling.' 'It was a homage to Russ Meyer, baby.'), or it might just be another attempt to make myself sound important.

But until that day when a trip to buy lunch at Tesco becomes a journey into the semiotics of branding, theatre has a special place. It's not surprising that the language of theatre studies has entered into anthropology: observation and analysis is one thing that any performance, however dull, can teach. And, unlike New York City, it comes to an end.

No comments :

Post a Comment