Far from taking the organising committee of the London Olympics (LOCOG) into the street and beating them down for even thinking of blowing £9.2billion on a 3 week long sports event, Arts Council England has, once again, dropped its trousers and bent over, metaphorically speaking of course.
The latest banality comes from ACE's website where they appear to be getting very excited about the prospect of the "games' in 2012. The following paragraph has to be read several times to be believed;
"Artists Taking the Lead is one of the ‘bid projects’ set out in London’s submission to host the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. 12 artists’ commissions - responding to and celebrating our local and national cultural life in each of the nine English regions and in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - will create great art in iconic and unexpected places. Each commission will encourage collaboration across artforms, aspire to a legacy beyond 2012, and have the creative energy of children, young people and communities at its heart."
Making fun of this is too easy and it's not really the point. It's writing and thinking so idiotic, so meaningless, condescending, and soporific it makes you want to weep. In fact weep is too light a word. It makes you want to unashamedly bawl your eyes out, thump your fist on the table and scream "why? why are you doing this to us?"
The Olympics is using the arts like the arts (that is ACE) uses education work. It is nothing more than a means to an end so the cultural development of an entire country can be subjugated for the next six years whilst we indulge the ego of Ken Livingstone, Sebastian Coe and dozens of retired Olympic athletes making a good living as "consultants".
Perhaps the most puerile and cynical comment is the "creative energy of children, young people" section. Sure, kids will be in the opening and closing ceremony, neatly corralled like sheep into over organised, creatively banal shapes that look good from a blimp camera as hyped up adults yell at them if they so much as look in the wrong direction.
Too bad that in the intervening years grass roots financial support for sport and the arts will be gutted to pay for an empty vision.
At least they'll get a free t-shirt, probably!
Arts Council England sold out the arts because they didn't have the balls or the brains to fight for them. Maybe you can ask them why at your next meeting, whenever that may be!