Kevin Buckle: Art for art's sake

I hope in the coming months Edinburgh Council looks at its attitude to the arts and who is being reached. Very much as has happened in music where an awful lot of people have been lost somewhere between the banality of Ed Sheeran and the weird cool hipster stuff, the same seems to have happened in the arts in general.

Thursday, 18th May 2017, 12:36 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:03 pm
The traditional Saturday record shop trip is dying out. Picture: Getty

Now with music nobody is quite sure how many people are actually lost to music and how many are simply streaming but given there are figures for these things there is still no doubt that the middle ground does not fare well.

Undoubtedly nostalgia is playing a big part in music these days but recently I’ve been exposed to Capital Radio and Mr Ed Sheeran more than I’m happy with after being in my daughter’s car and I’ve realised that even Ed’s songs are often nostalgic and the man is only 26!

Now of course there will always be a place for the left field whether that is in the visual arts, writing or music but the argument often used that this leads to more accessible “art” is overplayed and never more so than in the world of fashion.

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David Bowie photographed by Lawrence Watson at the Capitals Fruitmarket Gallery

All this brings me yet again to the current generation just discovering all these things for the first time. Maybe there needs to be lessons in the schools!

Cool or interesting places are closing down all over the world and understandably they often hide behind other issues when the number one problem is simply people not supporting in sufficient numbers.

It has always been the way that as folk got older and jobs and families started to become a priority that nights out and even Saturday record shop trips became less frequent.

However, there was always a new crop of keen teenagers and students ready to fill the gap and that is what has not happened now for over a decade.

David Bowie photographed by Lawrence Watson at the Capitals Fruitmarket Gallery

With the surprising departure of Richard Lewis as the convener for culture and sport we will need to see who takes over the role but while other arts bodies spend tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds on events attended by fewer people than a busy football match the council is in a position, both because of the buildings it owns and the funding it has, to make a real difference.

Who would have thought vinyl and physical books would still be doing so well so maybe it is too soon to give up on younger generations getting back into high street shopping and going out at night. What we do need to do is make those experiences more pleasurable and of course for a place like Edinburgh with so many visitors that can only be something that improves the overall vibe of the city.

My daytime viewing tells me that vintage is very “on trend”, though personally I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t. Edinburgh could do vintage so well and while the council’s last attempt was a bit of a damp squib the potential is huge, especially at Christmas when those stalls could be so much more interesting.

For some “art for art’s sake” is the usual English rendering of a French slogan from the early 19th century –“l’art pour l’art” – and expresses a philosophy that the intrinsic value of art, and the only “true” art, is divorced from any didactic, moral, or utilitarian function. For others it is a 10cc song.

Both answers are equally valid and sometimes the arts community and its funders need to be reminded of that!

Poster is a stick-on for exhibition

There has been a great response to Liam Rudden’s recent piece in the paper on the Scottish music exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery in June and while this is just a taster for bigger things to come there will still be a fantastic selection of memorabilia on show some never seen before and others that have been tucked away for thirty years or more.

Some may remember the demise of the Picture House being delayed when councillors heard that David Bowie had played there. While it wasn’t enough to save it in the end only this week a friend and Bowie fan got in touch to offer the original poster.

Still very much looking for more things and while all eras are welcome the sixties and early seventies are proving the hardest to find material from. Any old posters, tickets or photos along with anything else would be great. Items can be donated or loaned.

Vinyl collections are also sought for possible display but also for sale and I’m very happy to buy in collections small and large. I can be contacted on [email protected] or anything of interest can be brought along to the Fruitmarket Gallery when the exhibition is on from June 16-18. Visit for more details.

Social networker

I’ve never been to a seminar on entrepreneurship or a workshop to improve my social media skills but I have agreed to go to something called “networking drinks” organised by the Scottish Music Industry Association. Given the upcoming Scottish music exhibition it seemed churlish not to. I did check to see what else would be happening but drinking and networking seems to be it. Wish me luck!