The act of creativity and the place of the Artist in society is something that has become an increasing fascination. It is perhaps a result of my increasing desire, as told elsewhere on this blog, to express myself through my own work rather than through my research, editing and writing of/on composers and poets of the early twentieth century, which is the mainstay of my work. Indeed, it the creative act and the place of the Artist is the central theme in a short collection of my own poetry that I am preparing for publication, for issue on 1 June 2014: Fulcrum (more details about this here). I sincerely believe that it is the Arts that are the defining vestige of humanity, and that they are the most important facet of our being. It is what separates us from the mere bestial. There are some who would beg to differ; those who see the Arts as an economically fruitless frivolity (because a growing economy is the be-all of everything, obviously, and if you aren’t an accountable cog within this machine then you are worthless); and there are those who believe that science, pushing the bounds of knowledge, is everything. Some aspects of science can tend towards art in its outlook and ideology, one might argue; however, that aspect of scientific pursuit which is cited as the apogee of usefulness is medicine, which to my mind is merely a refined form of the bestial instinct to survive (I am in no way ungrateful of the medical profession: they do remarkable things, maintaining our well-being and quality of life, but it is, as I say, a refined form of the bestial instincts and is not something that defines us as human. That is for the arts alone.).
There has been, to my mind, only one television programme broadcast this year (in the first ten months thereof) has been worth watching (yes, only one – although by no means have I seen all that has been broadcast – far from it; indeed I haven’t yet watched any others in the series to which this programme belongs). This programme showed something of the work of the artist, and is something that I recommend heartily: BBC4’s portrait of the great Norman Ackroyd, ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?’. Having just joyfully stumbled across the programme on YouTube, I thought I would share it here.