• Emily Rigz

Money Can’t Buy You CULTURE!


Brought to you by the Australian Government


The problem with having a government in place that is obsessed with the illusion of “budget surplus” is that culture becomes irrelevant.

Now culture and quality of life go hand in hand, serious! Our culture (not mentioning it's poor shape) should be adding value to our lives.


We should be proud of our Sydney night life because of the overwhelming amount of human presence! Actual humans going out would be a great start, but we should also be able to feel pride because of the amazing culture that is gloriously ON DISPLAY!


What kind of a depressing, self-destroying culture do we have when Alan Jones can move next to The Sydney Opera House and complain. COMPLAIN!


Because.


The.


OPERA HOUSE (note the self-explanatory name)


Is.


TOO.


MUSICY.


For.


His.


Dumb.


Arse???????????


That is the moment where, as a society, you go “ok, our war on culture is getting out of hand! This must stop! We’re going to end up living in a country that is as stale as a large accounting firm if we don’t stop this utter madness in its tracks!


But no. You know they have these noise monitors on the walls in some music venues now. The rule for the musicians is that you have to watch the little monitor while you perform and if it goes above a certain level that means you are playing too loudly. Even if nobody in the room can hear you and is asking you to turn it up, you have to turn it down.


True. I did a gig with one of these built in fun police last year.


Venues don’t want this shit. They have to do it otherwise all it takes is a few Alan Jones die hard wanna-bes to start orgasming over their noise complaints and hey presto! The place gets shut down faster than that time Julia Gillard shut down Tony Abbot in parliament for being a sexist bully. God that was good. Can we have her back please?


So the question is: What is a culture without art, and what is life without that culture?


Do we seriously want to be the country that sells off its own fucking culture to create this illusion of “profit”?


Can you see what that is?


That is selling off our quality of life, the things that make us proud, our collective talent, gifts and labour of love in arts. All based on an illusion that it will somehow, after much red tape and hoop jumping, actually give us the very fucking thing we had in the first place: quality of life based in rich culture.


Like trickle-down economics:


Instead of just giving you the thing you actually need (eg: an income one can survive on) somehow, by withholding that and (lol) giving it to the rich, we will all magically get the income in the end YAY!


Except the only reason anyone would do all that fuckarsing around to piss on you and call it rain, is so that they can take a slice of your imaginary income for themselves and their buddies and hope that in all the bullshit you get so lost that you believe that it was, in fact, economic management after all.


Alright, I’m getting distracted.


In light of our current governmental crisis, quality of life is an interesting topic and we need to seriously think about it and talk about it. I find this a hard topic to approach because I am usually speechless with rage and a bit sad and dumbfounded all at once.


Take Bessy for example:


“hello Bessy, do you think it a good idea to sell me your spine? You see, you will make a profit by selling your spine. Of course, then you will have no mother fucking spine, but you will have this profit and with that we can do all of these alleged things! Like buying you a spine!”


Bessy gets less quality of life by selling off her spine. Bessy is FOOLED into selling her spine because of the promise of…having a spine…


Let’s put that into a different perspective:


NSW gets less quality of life by selling off all of its public assets and culture (public assets and culture = quality of life for the people). NSW is FOOLED into selling off its quality of life because of the promise of having quality of life!


Sounds funny doesn’t it, but that’s exactly what we are doing.


Or:


“let’s save money by shutting down the music section within TAFE. With this money, we will do things for the people that will make life better for them (like what, exactly? Can anyone tell me?).


Let’s ignore the fact that learning music and being able to have a career that one loves INCREASES QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ARTISTS AND THE PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT FROM FUCKING ART, LIKE EVERY GOD DAMN PERSON WHO LIKES TO WATCH A MOVIE, WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU THINK ALL OF THE NOISE IN THAT MOVIE COMES FROM??


Ladies and gentlemen, as I so adamantly address ye all, it is the work of musicians and artists who have studied for a very long time to get so dang good at their jobs that you ball your little eyes out all the way through Lion, or The Titanic, or whatever.


Over the last couple of decades, we have seen the slow demise of culture in NSW and probably Australia as a whole.


So, shall we create a list of things that we could say are…oh I don’t know, blatant cultural genocide?


1. Noise complaints and sound laws that make live music basically impossible for music venues


2. Lock out laws and the death of Kings Cross. Actually, this is a good example.


Kings Cross has been totally killed intentionally so that it can be sold off to developers. Now, what do you have at the end of that? Well, you’ve got money, but you’ve lost one of the very things that gave us culture and quality of life; live music, the arts, human beings going out and having human interactions.


3. Poker machines in music venues/ gambling


4. The war on journalism


5. Cutting funding to TAFE, especially subsidies for creative arts courses


6. The axing (oh sorry lol, I mean “merging”) of the federal arts department


7. The plans to spend some bullshit figure like $2 billion to move The Powerhouse Museum out of Ultimo…but it’s ok because once they are done selling off the real estate it will pay for the whole move…


8. Selling out our farmers, taking their water, charging them for water in their own dams


9. Giving the Adani mine unlimited access to water so that Australia can lead the way in ignoring science and killing off the human race due to the climate crisis. In this way, we outdo ourselves! Not only are we destroying our own culture, but potentially destroying all human culture on earth! Go us.


10. And the last thing coming to mind is the devastation that has come to our actual environment. The amount of bush we have lost, the risk of extinction to our Koalas. If that doesn’t make us what we are culturally then what does? Our sad little puppet leaders could have at least tried to do something to prevent the fires. They were warned and chose to ignore it and act when it was too late and now we have a spectacularly devastated landscape.


And there’s more, you all know there is more.


So, let’s not go quietly to our graves then ey?


Let’s think about what makes life rich, not because we have money (and as the old adage goes: “ain’t no money gonna buy you happiness or something”) but because we are fucking happy. Because we have a culture to be proud of, like that time we nailed the Olympic Games and it’s hailed as one of the best Game there ever was.


Let’s seriously think about the impact that killing the arts is going to have on our culture and our quality of life. The flow on effect will touch everyone, is touching everyone, weather you realise it right now or not.


Let’s do something. Attend a protest, sign one of them online partitions even though they always seem a bit flaky but hey, it’s better than doing nothing.


Support an artist somehow.


Think about what you want our country to be, I mean really, beyond money money money.


I personally would like to not die from some illness because I could not afford to go to the doctors once we are done with Medicare, because you know, Medicare costs and we could be hoarding that money, couldn’t we, or giving it to the rich?


I personally would like Journalists to be able to do their jobs without being criminalised for it so we don’t end up like China.


I personally would like to know that I can catch the train to Sydney without being sexually abused by an authority figure at the station and defenceless, just because I have tattoos.


I would like my children to see a Koala in real life.


I would like the bush land to not be destroyed.


Clean air is also nice.


I would like to be proud to say I am an Australian because of how we embrace, learn from and protect Aboriginal culture and cultures from all over the world.


I would like to be proud of the way that my country takes in asylum seekers and utilises their skills to better our nation.


I would like there to be a booming arts scene all over Australia.


And just maybe if we all think about this enough, and our focus goes from money hoarding and imaginary budget surplus to quality of life, we might be able to have that country that we can be proud of again.


Thank you very much for reading XXX

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 Emily Rigz © 2019