Sunday, 12 January 2014

In this age of media and social and government oppression we need a coherent Arts movement, to unite a new Beat Generation

When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars... So sang The 5th Dimension in the song "Aquarius" back in 1969.  

For a few years in the 70s, there was a genuine sense of a growing counterculture as young people rejected the restrictive views and values of their parents' generation and seemed to want to create a more tolerant, more humane, more peaceful society. But aside from a few protests in favour of Civil Rights and against the Vietnam War, it largely came to nothing really, because sitting in a field naked and stoned ultimately doesn't challenge the establishment, it just sort of wastes a load of time and drugs tend to fuck with your mind, rather than focus it to get organised and embark on a credible programme to achieve genuine lasting change.

The Age of Aquarius is supposed to liberate us all, so that we might cast off the shackles of conservative conformity in our quest to discover the full joys of being human, the freedom to express ourselves, to fulfil ourselves as individuals, to connect with our fellow man and our environment.  In this actual age of sexually transmitted diseases, some of which are known to be resistant now to antibiotics, presumably no-one would really be endorsing free love as the 70s hippies were.  No matter how enlightened and psychologically liberated I became, I cannot imagine shagging all the gents and half the women in my community, with no consideration for physical or emotional commitment, some things are just clearly a very bad idea!

Most people seem to subscribe to the view that the Age of Aquarius hasn't actually started yet and won't do for a few hundred years, but some claim it began in 2012.  If it did, there certainly doesn't seem to be any feeling of liberation so far.  The vast majority of us still seem to be living under a cloud of extreme social and political oppression, more so than ever in my lifetime really.  Those who don't conform to current social norms are portrayed in the mainstream media as deviant - for which read eccentric if you're rich or a threat to the lives of decent hard-working families if you don't happen to be loaded.  

We also live in the Age of Litigation, where the full might of the law is frequently used against anyone expressing a view which really challenges government and the corporations who fund political parties, and this has inevitably seeped through into popular culture, art and drama.  Seldom will you discover a TV drama or radio play with a negative message about the establishment.  Not so long ago you might have been able to watch a prime time UK drama which portrayed government ministers as corrupt, specifically identifying the characters as corrupt Tory politicians.  That seems much less likely now, as programme makers err on the side of caution, at the expense of compelling, gritty drama to get public debate going. And even more worrying, documentary series actively demonise anyone not conforming to the established model of family life and those horrid, judgemental, voyeuristic programmes frequently attract high viewing figures.

But there must be an enormous number of writers and artists, musicians and actors and poets and dancers, who certainly don't share this narrow Daily Mail definition of what life should be, and we perhaps need to establish a coherent movement to challenge the intolerance and bigotry the viewing public has become used to sitting in front of, without questioning any of the messages they're being fed, night in, night out.

Scotland has the National Collective , a movement for artists and creatives prepared to challenge the political establishment, in this case, united specifically in their support for Scottish independence, and we could perhaps be inspired and encouraged by that to form our own Arts movement for people who seek to challenge the status quo in a broader sense, a bit like the Beat Generation of writers in the 50s and 60s.

If you already know of such collectives please feel free to post links to these groups in the comments section below and perhaps we can start to join up a few of the dots, and build something meaningful and lasting together.


  1. Dear Bien Souer I go back almost to the Beat Gen. but not quite. Blessing and a curse as one has hopes of general equality for ALL not just small groups in totemistic way having been achieved by now and not yet old enough to have seen error of youthful idealism overshadowed by the various eveil forces all arrayed against it. From Our Dave & Gideons Way downwards...
    I have had an idea from my local focus group which I'd like to float by you in email possibly.

    We are many but the opposition is powerful & devious, crafty with all control safely sewn up and discreetly tucked away under veneers of superficial gloss, which divert attention away...
    As my mentor George Orwell said somewhere, just because something is so doesn’t mean it should remain so: We’d still have serfs and slavery were that the case, burning witches…
    Maybe we still have something like that in 2014!
    Say our society was being undermined by a few like-minded people with too much wealth and the access to unlimited power to change the lives of anyone who doesn’t dine at the Top Tables of “Our Society”. If so how could it be changed? Are these "Power Possessors" simply going to let go and give up what 'They' see as their inalienable right to rule and decide things?
    How can it be done- how might the strength of this group of like-minded people be used against its overweening control, loosen its grip on unwarranted privilege and power to decide?

    The simple unfairness of a few having vast wealth and the influence that goes with it has to change in radical ways. We know how the world operates: You got money you got influence.
    Why should this continue so forever? It’s unfair, its wrong.
    Vast wealth was never obtained by fair means. Share it back with those who were exploited in the past.
    They are still exploited NOW. It should come to an end.
    The world as Desmond Tutu reminds us is at a crisis point. We must get out of our apathy thinking that 'We' can do nothing to change what's what.
    I'd ask George for help but it's up to us now. Time's running out every minute...

  3. I had a rewrite/rethink. Piece to camera Julie-Ann ??

    Time gentlemen, please. (TITLE)
    Time is a-changing indeed… but are they really? At all, never mind what we all might discuss as to “How much is enough”? (tune in background, HUBBUB OF DISCUSSION…)
    change is good for a society.

    In these situations I refer for help to my illustrious mentor George Orwell and ask him: “What would you think of doing here, Eric”? I wait patiently for his reply. It always comes.

    Just because things have been so, is no reason to say it must stay so. We’d still have slavery if that was our way. Look how things have adapted, attitudes to topical issues where mass mood has changed, even reversed as with same-sex relationships, almost overnight for us and our human race: Slow to change but it must come.

    What “always used to be” as a guide to the future is wrong and we must achieve this soon as the world is heading for total destruction if we continue as we are.

    One example leads into another. The unfairness of a few having vast wealth has to change in some radical way. We know how the world operates. You got money you got influence. Why should this continue to be so. It’s unfair, it’s plain wrong. Let’s bring ethics back into politics.

  4. Could humanity feel further from the age of Aquarius right now. It sometimes feels like hope is evaporating before our very eyes, but we have strong connections to good men and women round the world, people of intelligence, insight and integrity, and we stand together, defending the weak to our very last breath...

    Let's hope it's not too long before some progress is made in some of those communities, because everyone deserves to be free, to love who they wish, to believe in whatever they wish, to live a good and fulfilling life... Peace will not come before many more tears I fear... but soon... soon we will start to see change, I am confident... xx