A black day for free music

February 4, 2008

Tonight I heard the news that the Arts Council of England had rejected the appeal by the London Musicians Collective against the removal of all funding. This deeply depressing news effectively means that the LMC cannot operate in 2008. Whether other streams of funding can be found, or if free events organised under the LMC umbrella can take place remains to be seen, but either way this new effectively cripples all LMC operations as we currently know them. This is sad sad news.

The impact that the LMC has had, and has continued to have on experimental music in the UK is massive. Its impact on me personally is something I find hard to equate. Quite frankly I have no idea what I would be listening to now (if anything) were it not for the LMC. For instance, the first three times I saw AMM play live was at LMC organised events. These events alone changed my life. The first times I saw Taku Sugimoto, Otomo Yoshihide, Polwechsel, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Derek Bailey, Toshimaru Nakamura, John Wall, Sachiko M and many many many others was at LMC organised events, that simply would not have happened without the work of Ed Baxter, Ben Drew and the many other people that have worked hard to keep the organisation running through mainly hard times. No other organisation has been capable of introducing this level of quality creative music from around the world to me, and looking at what is waiting in the wings to receive the money that should have been going to the LMC, its utterly laughable to think that any other organisation is capable of anything close to what the LMC had achieved in the near future.

The LMC also launched Resonance FM. Clearly the station has had a massive impact on me. The radio station is entirely the brainchild of the people at the LMC. The Arts Council will be continuing to fund Resonance FM separately, so for this reason I doubt that Ed, Ben or anyone close to the running of the LMC will be able to criticise the ACE as they would really like to, but hey I can…

The Arts Council are simply clueless morons that just have no idea at all about the one thing they are asked to look after; the arts. They throw money hand over fist at anything that presses the correct trendy buttons, that fits in nicely with the washed out impotent ideas of art and music that they support. Resonance continues to get support as it happens by chance to fall into a neat little category created by the ACE. It ticks the right boxes, although they probably think they are funding something completely different. Unfortunately the LMC is a little too left of centre, a little too unlikely to draw the big government pleasing crowds, a little too unlikely to give “value for money” to warrant the continued support of an organisation that is supposedly in charge of keeping our arts vibrant and important.

There are no possible reasons that could be given by the Arts Council that can justify the removal of funding to the most important music organisation this country has ever seen. Whatever reason they give, be it low audience numbers, poor “value for money” or anything else cannot warrant these actions. I now await whatever media friendly watered down rubbish we are presented with instead.


Really I feel like emigrating.

Comments (10)

  • Dohol ( aka Doug Holbrook )

    February 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Richard…There’s no place left to emigrate to…

    The world is full of idiots. And they pull the strings.

    Or am I being too pessimistic?

  • Simon P

    February 4, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    If you do move out of England, don’t head West – the Arts Council of Wales is even more hopeless, misguided, mismanaged and clueless than ACE. Add to the fun the fact that they have significantly less money to start with, and it becomes an entirely pointless entity.

  • Richard Pinnell

    February 4, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Yeah judging by the recent track records of the various Arts Councils I think I’m moving to Scotland.

  • helena gough

    February 21, 2008 at 10:34 am

    INDEED. and i am emigrating.

    by the way, having just posted a comment in your jan 2007 blog by mistake, did you write a review of last year’s lmc fest..?

  • Richard Pinnell

    February 21, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    HI Helena

    No unfortunately I just couldn’t find the time to write anything solid up for the LMC Fest before it got so late that it was no longer relevant. I’m sorry about that. If its any consolation your solo set was great.

    Not sure if you ever saw that I wrote a few words about the show you played in Bristol though? Its here in case you didn’t: http://richardpinnell.blogspot.com/2007/12/catching-up.html

    Are you really emigrating? If so where to?

  • Alastair

    February 23, 2008 at 11:18 am

    all the best people are.

  • helena gough

    February 24, 2008 at 4:55 am

    thanks! i only started playing solo in june last year so i’ve had little feedback on what i’m doing, os i’m always keen to get comments/criticisms etc etc.

    i’m really emigrating, to berlin later this year. i need change, i need lower rent and i need to be somewhere with lots of music, plenty of small music venues and the possibility of collaborations with inspiring people. berlin ticks all those boxes. i have no ties here so i’m going to take a risk and see what happens. i’m totally fed up with being in birmingham – nothing happens here and i’m bored out of my mind. i can’t even imagine being able to afford london, and that would be the best option in this country for me. so i feel like i have to go abroad…
    and i have to say that all the arts council shit helped me decide to take the plunge.

  • Richard Pinnell

    February 24, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Yeah if I had to guess at your destination then Berlin would have been my first choice, seems to be something of a Meccah for musicians just recently. I can understand why anyone would want to leave Birmingham too… :) Best of luck over there.

  • helena gough

    February 25, 2008 at 9:57 am

    yes…berlin is a bit of a cliche, but i don’t know where else is a good option (both culturally and financially) so i’m going to have a shot at it.

  • Richard Pinnell

    February 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    No, I think its the sensible choice. There’s some great stuff happening over there. Besides, 8 out of 10 avant garde musicians can’t be wrong! :)

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