Thursday, 12 July 2012

Self made…

I have to admit that I was also a fan of the Grayson Perry ‘All in the Best Possible Taste’ on Channel 4 last month. Straight off the title takes me back to Kenny Everett as Cupid Stunt flinging his legs around with his plastic boobs bobbing about. 

But apart from the nostalgia, I thought Mr Perry had some really pertinent things to say about class and taste.  Despite looking at this through a purely English lens, if anything it enabled people to see parallels with issues resonating within their own circumstances.  For example, I like the idea of the plight of the ‘self-made’ middle classes being in-between without much of a yardstick to go by… the anxiety about how to live, what to consume, how morally upstanding to be – and all this with an awareness of privilege living in the middle. Then he presents the Upper classes as carrying the burden of preservation, upholding family heritage, culture and tradition. Honestly when you saw how some of these people lived - it were as if they were living in a giant sarcophagus. Perry talked about these issues very eloquently and depicted his perspective without mercy. I especially liked the lord of the manor as a dying breed, being hunted down by the nouveau riche.

The programme got me thinking afterwards about heritage, and my place in its preservation or perpetration. I’ve always been quite cavalier about it. Not that I haven’t cared about it; I’ve always felt weary of feeling burdened. How much does one depend or use history to foster new narratives? It might sound like a strange thing to say, but sometimes it feels like you’re competing with history. I’ve been kind stuck on the ole Maurice tale - and I must admit slightly conscious of the B word, as for some it seems like old news. These are the extremes of this artist lark… you’re either obsessed with your work or just in doubt.

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