Culture column

But is it art?

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Not a week passes without the Daily Mail or the Daily Express bitterly complaining that art has been taken over by anarchists and crackpots.

Empty rooms with flickering neon, piles of bricks, pictures (beautiful pictures as it happens) made with elephant dung, isolated figures half submerged off the Welsh coast - they exercise the middle classes to the point of apoplexy. But what is their art then? What is the artistic culture of the right?

Welcome to the revolution

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I might be a month late, but I think it is time to celebrate the October revolution. No, not the Russian one, but Wednesday 10 October 2007.

That was the day Radiohead released In Rainbows, an album not only available as a download, but - wait for it - the buyers decide how much they pay!

Yep, for as little as one penny you can get yourself an album by one of Britain's biggest bands. Thom Yorke, the band's lead singer, told a journalist, "We're not part of this big empire - it's trying to get away from that because it's the death of anything creative." But I wonder just how noble the band's aims are.

Reality comes home

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Atlanta International Airport is a major transportation centre for US troops going to serve in Iraq. I happened to be passing through the day after General Petraeus gave his report on the so called "surge" and the day President Bush made a major speech on the conflict.

Television screens sited all around the airport lounges beamed Bush's speech. The place was alive with US soldiers discussing the situation with each other and members of the public. Many soldiers openly voiced their opposition to the occupation.


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