Wednesday, April 09, 2008

whiting up brixton

When they first started playing classical music in tube stations and outside shops to drive off young people I was amused. I thought it a master stroke of psychology, that by accepting that classical music was inherently uncool they had found the perfect tool to bring young people into line.
"kids, pay attention at school or we get out the Debussy"
"hand in that homework or its the bach for you"
oh the hilarity that would ensue, either that or i was hoping that kids would co opt the classical music scene and hip hop groups would start adopting the mannerisms of middle class Prom lovers.
the dissonance started to hit though when they were playing Beethoven as i went down into Brixton tube, the same composer who the characters of a clockwork orange liked to fight to. This was meant to calm people? Stop them intimidating people?
Because much as i accept that kids won't hang about when you play them dead white dude music enforced listening will not make them suddenly into the ideal Daily Mail citizen (thank fuck). That was when the rationale became slightly sinister, because its all about asserting middle class white identity into areas that frighten the selfsame voters.
It has little to do with actually changing anything other than the perception of crime, which is the new big thing for the Labour government once it realised that crime rates were falling but the voters were still shit scared of each other. That is what all the anti hoodie bollocks and getting part time coppers on the beat is all about, making people feel safe. Never mind that a lot of people aren’t really encouraged by more coppers hanging about looking for an excuse to hastle anyone young looking. frankly i'm more scared of constant CCTV surveilance and the thought that the Met could get away with shooting me for no reason than by a bunch of pimply 14 year olds in hoods. who only wear them to be honest in order to hide from the world because that’s what you want to do for the most part as a 14 year old boy. Adolescence has a lot to answer for.

It is also part of the ongoing war on young people, who are assumed to be root evil of everything because they don’t respect their elders anymore. Notwithstanding the fact their elders are the worst examples of materially obsessed, broken down wankers who live in a culture where capitalist individualism is the only religion and where young people are shown no respect in any way. Respect has to be earned, as the right likes to say, and that goes double for adults. No wonder most kids hate their parents, they aren’t stupid and they question things.
So the playing of classical music in Brixton tube especially has that nasty undercurrent of racial assumption, that it will somehow better the people who live there, that the non white, non European origins of most of the people using the station are not culturally allowed. That we all must go to work under the banner of dead white men's music, to assert should we ever forget it that this country is a white, middle class homogenous daily mail reading flag saluting nation. Which of course it is not, but we have to pander to that minority who think it is because they shout the loudest.


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