Another thought, inspired by the conjunction of McMaster, the cultural offer, and me spending a week away with my family, enjoying ourselves and relaxing without anything approaching a life-changing experience, arts or otherwise...
Noel Coward said it was ‘extraordinary how potent cheap music can be’. Brian McMaster (or his report at least) recommends that ‘cultural organisations stop exploiting the tendency of many audiences to accept a superficial experience and foster a relationship founded on innovative, exciting and challenging work’. He rightly says that ‘An excellent cultural experience goes to the root of living.’
But how much excellence of that sort can a person – especially an impressionable young person –bear? Is it not enough at times to be stimulated, inspired and challenged as well as entertained at a deep level? Is an hour wandering TATE modern not a ‘superficial’ experience for many, no matter how great the art? I don’t think it’s necessarily transformational, or certainly not immediately. Anyway, don't some superficial things sometimes sneak up on you and turn into life-changing experiences?
I want fulfilling arts experiences, and surprise. I want to laugh, dance, think, ponder. I don’t necessarily want my values reorganised every time I go to the theatre or read a book. I don’t think that makes me shallow. Tell me if I’m wrong.