We need art now more than ever

There’s no escaping it, the UK (perhaps even the world) is falling apart. Years of austerity have ground people down and the EU referendum and political upheaval this year have proven that we are a radically divided nation.

The one theme that runs through most arguments however is a disquiet about the status quo. People don’t trust politicians and are increasingly sceptical of the media.

There has also been a lot of anti-intellectual talk (even from our politicians) and no one seems to know where to look in order to make sense of the situation we find ourselves in.

There is, in my opinion, a vastly underrated medium which always seems to pop up during periods of social restlessness, and that is ART in its many forms. Because of my position in this debate, I have a bias for music, but many of my arguments also work for theatre, poetry, painting, and any other artform you can think of.

It helps you escape
Firstly, art can help you escape your day-to-day trials and tribulations and keep you sane in a confusing world.

Listening to music is well known for releasing “feel-good” endorphins which improve your state of mind. I personally have seen this in action in PTSD sufferers at Tedworth House (A Help For Heroes hospice in Wiltshire, where I regularly perform).

It speaks beyond intellect
When people are fed up with “experts” (which we are told is a genuine issue) then we need to find another way to reach people. Music and art can fill that gap, and inform people without either patronising or being too high brow. I’ve seen a lot of satirical pictures popping up on social media recently, and I predict an increase in social commentary in music and comedy especially over the coming years.

It allows you to vent your frustrations creatively
When there is so much pent up aggression and frustration in society, we nrebecca-weeks-satire-pictureeed an outlet which doesn’t cause harm to others. Art (and sport, in fact) gives us that outlet.

Where art differs from the benefits of physical exertion of sport, however, is that you don’t always have to participate for it to have a positive impact. How many times have you seen a picture, or heard a song and felt that it says EXACTLY what you were thinking? That shared experience can immediately make you feel less confused and alienated. The fact that “Someone else feels the same as me” is incredibly comforting, isn’t it?

The picture on the right was drawn by Rebecca Weeks in my doodle pad at a recent gig and serves to illustrate my point perfectly!

It can help dig us out of this hole
There have been many studies recently about the benefit of a healthy music scene on local and national economy (See this, this and this for just a few examples). I won’t go in to the economics here, but surely, if there’s something that we enjoy doing, that is also of massive benefit to ourselves and our communities, we should be encouraging more of it?

I think that’s enough talk from me now, but I’ll leave you with this, which some of you will have seen before. I hope it helps some of you!

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