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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Spectator piece about the folk awards

The Spectator magazine got in touch a couple of weeks ago and asked if I'd like to write something about the Radio Two Folk Awards, since they were coming up. Obviously I have form in this respect.

It was great to be asked. So I wrote a piece, it was edited by Fraser Nelson, the magazine's editor, who it turns out has strong opinions of his own about folk music. The piece was much improved I thought... and then they published the first version.

Here it is.

The article speaks for itself, I hope, and some of it will be familiar to regular readers of this blog. But there are some things I'd like to add.

I hope that continuing to discuss the way that the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards are administered will compel the BBC to make the reforms it hinted at when I spoke to Fergus Dudley on the telephone. He implied that they would be looking at the awards' transparency again this year. And I hope that, for the sake of our curiosity, this reorganisation will include producing a list of this year's judges so we can compare the results with whatever comes next.

I also hope that one day soon the folk awards will be on terrestrial television because the BBC should promote them as one of the mainstays of our cultural output.

And, since I've started now, I also believe that the Arts Council of England should spend more of its money promoting English talent to the rest of the world, instead of importing "high culture" from abroad that has probably already been subsidised at least once by its own national governments. The clue is in the name of the organisation, we pay for it and we should get our money's worth.

Moreover, I think that if it did this the arts council may find its budget negotiations would go better the next time they made their case to the government - because marketing music that people actually want to buy would produce material rewards and that's the kind of language government understands.

I hope you enjoy this evening's awards.

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  1. If it helps, the US imports all of its culture from the UK and runs it on the Federally subsidized PBS.

  2. That's funny. I thought it went the other way. We English folkies wear blue jeans, drink cola and play guitar - a Strat in my case. And, in our countryside many people adore cowboy films and C&W.


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