Brian Eno on Art

Last night was the annual John Peel lecture, which last year featured Iggy Pop, but this time the so-called polymath of Eno. I was intrigued by his claims of the importance of art being something that defines us as humans, but then he defined art as anything we do that we don’t have to. We need clothes but not haute couture. We need food but not fancy restaurants, and so on,. Sounds impressive, but does that make sport an art? Or play? It took till the 1960s for scientists to realise animals like dolphins play. Took about the same time to realise so-called primitive people also spend a lot of time in play. We don’t have to fight, so does that make war art? Hmmm.

But then he cited the BBc’s economics journalist Paul Mason claiming that we are heading to  a period of hyper abundance. Whaaat? Ever heard of global warming, the energy crisis, overpopulation? What utter nonsense that our planet is heading towards anything but problems. He spoke of how Europe has more than the rest of the world, so e need to be less greedy, but he was referring to the huge gap between the super rich and the super poor. The west may have money but there is also a lot of hunger here.

Eno by his own admission spends a lot of time reading books and lots of his friends are scientists, known for their blue sky thinking but less so for down to earth stuff. Eno went straight from art school to the dole, then to Roxy Music, so has never had a proper job.   I wonder how many ‘ordinary’ people he has ever met. Not many, I’m guessing.

So, sorry, but not impressed with him. He’s got some good ideas, but he also talks a lot of tosh. Sorry Brian

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