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Sound Grenade

by Archives April 7, 2009

Remember when the arts were considered intellectual accomplishments?
Whatever happened to the musical priorities of the 18th and 19th centuries? Back in those days education meant being well-rounded in literature, music, languages and painting. Most men and women played at least a few instruments and music was one of the only mediums that people of all walks of life could relate to.
The reason I bring this up mostly has to do with our conservative government and the lack of funding for the arts. Musicians, who are serious about making a name for themselves, are in need of money and often ask for grants. Unfortunately these requests usually go unanswered because artists aren’t seen as economic contributors to society. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently made a statement in which he implied that funding the arts would not make “normal” tax paying citizens happy; because it meant paying for over-priced galas. Firstly, the assumption that all musicians are A) insane or B) rich “rock stars” is even more deluded than those gas station water coffees. Secondly, the arts and the media usually work together and that means big money. Movies, concerts, art galleries and exhibitions, these are all things people pay money to see.
Still, as crazy as it sounds, the government isn’t all bad. Some bands and art projects do get funded, but it takes a lot of work ,and if you don’t have the time or energy then you better get someone to do it for you or instantaneously become best-buddies with Harper.
Also, some music genres are more funded than others. Unfortunately and not surprisingly – punk rockers are the least likely to get government funding. Why? Because according to certain sources, they are not seen as reliable. There have been instances in which punk bands were given money and never did anything to pursue their careers. Drugs, alcohol and other bits of the unfortunate life got in the way. However, the minority should not undermine the majority – serious musicians in pursuit of musical happiness.
Music is an art form that makes living a bit easier, so I can’t understand why the conservative government doesn’t see the importance of it. It’s as though the Conservatives are trying to diffuse the arts’ societal influence. Humankind has been fascinated with musical expression since the beginning of time. Music is only a reflection of the world and perhaps politicians like Harper are frightened at the truth it may reveal.
The unfortunate part in all of this is the control the government has on music. I mean who likes Nickelback… seriously? I don’t know anybody who’s a fan of these guys and yet we hear them on the radio, see them at the Junos and on the cover of random magazines. The underground music scene is great, but also very poor. Everyone is living on the bare minimum and relying on each other to get recognition. Social networking like MySpace and Facebook has really aided the underground music industry. Unfortunately music has been attacked from all sides and an increasing amount of smaller venues that cater to local bands have been shutting down. In the past five years alone a number of bars have been closed and what happens when the bands have no where to play? You need a permit for almost everything these days, and no one can pull a Beatles move and perform on the roof of a building without getting arrested or in a Montreal scenario . . . tasered.
Many people feel hopeless because it seems like a never-ending battle. The C-10 bill (which would give the government power to restrict films) is only a sneak peak of what the government wishes they could control.
However, if everyone including non-musicians is willing to pursue the arts and prove its importance, then a whole new sub-culture can be created. It can be a musical revolution, I mean if the whales, dolphins, crickets, bees and hummingbirds sing aloud then so can we.

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