In Abridged Ergo…

Many people, ignoring historical precedent and human nature, are hoping that the other side of this virus will see a better and a wiser world. A place in which we realise the value of the planet we live upon and of each other. Maybe they are correct. We really hope they are. However, we doubt very much that a sudden spirit of peace and understanding will break out. Social and political philosophies (in democracies at least) if they are to survive, are built upon the people and places which they fail. The trick is to convince enough people that they are on the winning side, or that there are people in a worse off position than them. It has essentially become a competition. Socialism is now a dirty word, though some of its methodologies are being used by the Tories during the Pandemic though they would never admit it. Maybe when this is all over they will realise that public spending for the public infrastructure is valuable or more likely we’ll get Austerity (Part 2) albeit probably under a different name.

What it means for us art types? It is hard to say. As the meme acknowledges it was all those actors in Netflix that got us through this so maybe there will be a sudden appreciation of the value of the arts. More likely we will see the arts as an inevitable victim of the splash-back to this massive amount of public spending. Someone has to pay for this the argument will go. We know who it won’t be so it’ll be those that have least influence and can least afford it that will be hit. Nobody cares if a bunch of artists or writers complain, especially in the face of (for the moment) much moved doctors, nurses and teachers needing (quite rightly) more funding. We of course don’t need to point out that doctors and teachers were on the Daily Mail’s most unwanted list not so long ago.

It helps the government that politics in England is become more tribal so politicians can get away with more than they use to. Perhaps inspired by us over here. Things for art types will get more expensive anyhow. The age of cheap flights was instrumental in opening up the arts beyond (to an extent) the wealthy and middle-class. It is very possible we will see again expensive travel reducing the type of people that can avail of it. Abridged remembers not very fondly long bus trips via Larne and Stranraer to get to England or long boat trips from Belfast to Liverpool. Many people will of course champion the reduction of the carbon-footprint as less people fly. They have a point. But there’s always a downside. Not choosing to travel is very different from not being able to. Somebody equally as validly might point out that apart from a lucky or determined few that the arts have always been the preserve of the wealthy anyway.

There is also the whole social distancing thing to consider. How do you social distance installing an exhibition or at a gig? Potentially at the Pictures (we still call them that) or the Theatre you could have less people in. This would hit the organisation badly so more likely the prices will go up if they have to do this hitting again those who can least afford it.

Abridged will keep on doing what we do for as long as we can. We’re not sure what else we can do. We’ve been on this road a really long time we’re not certain we could get back to where we started from even if we wanted to. The path wasn’t straight and the terrain has changed considerably over the years. But we kept on going. ‘Tunnel vision and the scars to prove it’ as the song says.

We’ve loved doing this lockdown residency. It was very new for us. We don’t do residencies unless there is a really good bar. In fact, we’ve only done one residency (in New York) before and there were a lot of really good bars. Going to a field in the middle of nowhere and trying to be inspired isn’t for us. We need to be in the midst of the maelstrom. For us nothing produces nothing. We need to be in the middle of the drowning world. Thanks for Arts Arcadia and its curator Paola Bernardelli for inviting us temporarily aboard her ship. We hope we’ve done it justice See you at and