Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Until the pips squeak

Led Zep - live!! Anyone who encourages this filth should be taxed into penury.

I was in the newsagent the other day, and the shopkeeper asked the bloke in front of me if he wanted to buy a lottery ticket.

"Nah" he replied. "It's a stupidity tax, innit?"

A fair point. But it occurred to me that there is a more lucrative stupidity tax than the extra few quid that they make during a rollover week. Led Zep tickets, for example. If anyone ever deserved to have £8,000 taken off them, it's Led Zep fans. And - apparently - £8,000* is what some people paid.

I hope the all the touts who made a killing were ex-Mod wideboys.

And the worthless soap-dodgers that weren't rich enough to afford an actual ticket still got stung for a reasonably hefty idiocy-levy - £125 - just to own a used stub.

Harvey Goldsmith wasn't impressed.

But here's a suggestion; Why don't a bunch of civil-minded pop stars - the ones whose tickets are rare enough to fetch a decent price - establish their own joint auction site, and insist that a sizeable percentage of the tickets for their British gigs are auctioned though it - as part of the contractual negotiations?

All profits above the face value could go to fill in for some of the money lost in the recent Arts Council cuts that will have a significant impact on small theatre. A willingness to do this sort of thing is the only redeeming feature that Radiohead have. Perhaps this could be their next stunt?

Now, if this is an orignal idea of mine (and I doubt it is), I'm slapping a patent on it here and now to prevent it ever being abused by shitheads like Pink Floyd, Led Zep, The Scissor Sisters, The Kaiser Chiefs or James Blunt. There is a poetic justice in those gigs funding fat blokes who spent their teens in Sta Prest.

And here's a second idea. As public service broadcasting becomes a less reliable underwriter for the performing arts, why doesn't the BBC offer free adverts to regional theatre to fill some of the gap? No money would change hands. More people buying tickets at regional theatres would improve grass-roots funding, and the BBC would see the benefits in the long term.

I've been meaning to write a post for some time entitled "Why the BBC should take advertising - as long as it isn't paid for." And one day, I will.

OK. Maybe someone else has had those ideas. Maybe they're just plain unworkable, or daft. I don't know. But whenever public funding disappears from any walk of life, there are people who suffer. And that isn't good. But, like cuts in adult education, cuts in arts funding - particularly smaller scale performing arts - have a highly corrosive long term impact upon the quality of all of our lives.

So, at times like these, even stupid ideas may be worth a second look?

*The £8k is a figure I saw in a newspaper article. It may not be correct. But whatever the real figure was, it was huge.

1 comment:

hakmao said...

Led Zep? Oh you mean those shameless repackagers of Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon and dozens of other great and original Bluesmen. Slime.