26 February 2007
Posted in THE NEWS - BRIDPORT NEWS & VIEWS
OR Why Bridport would like to flog Vanessa Thorpe all the to way to the sea. In a recent article about the culturally feisty seaside town of Bridport. Vanessa Thorpe, the Observer’s “arts and media correspondent”, offended just about every element of the gloriously diverse town she was attempting to praise. By opening the article with tawdry, ill-informed, name-dropping exercise she demonstrates that she clearly has missed the point about what makes Bridport rather special. The town doesn’t give a frothy coffee about celebrity.
Indeed it is viewed something of an unfortunate but amusing affliction which needs to be overcome by putting something worthwhile back into the community. Billy Bragg is a case in point. By working with local youth on various creative projects, Billy has largely overcome the negative reverberations of his celebrity by demonstrating repeatedly that he is prepared to put his talents to good use.
On the other hand, Huge Furry Sh***ing Stool, as he is locally known, could try harder. Indeed, there is a local point of view that by packaging local culture for mass consumption on his weekend visits from the smoke to River Cottage he has done the area great damage. The whole point of Bridport is that it is somewhere that you discovered for yourself. People tended to move to the town because they visited someone who lived here and liked the friendly vibe of the place, leading to an ever-expanding population of friendly people. Broadcasting the delightful quality of life here on national television is about as helpful as telling Scousers that there’s good wrecking to be had on the beach. Der!
The increase in house prices which Vanessa seems to think worthy of breathless exhilaration, is a actually serious problem for the young people that live here (“rural workers and fishermen” according to Vanessa the dolt) and would like to be able to afford to continue to do so. A beach hut selling for £500,000 is not a cause for celebration merely a depressing symptom of the fact that there are two economies at work in UK and one of them is populated by dorks with more money than sense. The fact that this unfortunate trend even appears in article by the arts and media correspondent is indicative of the money and property, fads and fashion orientated, culturally vacuous stand-point from which Vanessa writes.
Tell your readers about George Wright’s powerful photo’s of Dorset women in the arts centre, the links of the Electric Palace with the Roxy in Prague, the diverse and inspirational collective of artists at St Michaels Studios, the delightfully eccentric creative output of Herbie Treehead. Better still don’t say anything, we don’t need your hype. The town’s solid history creativity will continue to flourish and bloom without it, it is based on substance not hot air. Beware Vanessa on your next visit, if you hear the sound of pitchforks being sharpened, it’ll be those rural workers keen to break into the cultural sector.
"Notting Hill-on-Sea? hoick ptooi"