Sunday, 29 July 2012

Artistic and sporting

Culture should embrace not only the arts and science but also sport. It seems the media need to be reminded of this. In my young days (before the paper became "The Guardian" and started supporting Labour), I can just remember Neville Cardus as both cricket reporter and music critic of the Manchester Guardian.  (Indeed, if I recall correctly, he once likened an innings by an obdurate Northern batsman to one of Bruckner's slow movements - and he rather liked Bruckner.) John Arlott had been poetry producer for the BBC's Overseas Service before becoming better known as a cricket and football commentator. Since then, things have become more compartmentalised.

David Lister in yesterday's Independent Review struck a blow for restoration of the balance. He praised the early evening scheduling of Friday's Prom, the culmination of the West-East Divan Orchestra Beethoven cycle, in time for people to enjoy the whole of the Choral Symphony and then see the Olympic opening ceremony from the beginning. He declared: "It has always struck me as both strange and irritating that sport and arts are so often pitted against one another. [...] Witness the astonishment aroused by the England football manager revealing recently that he curled up in bed with Albert Camus. He was probably forgiven because the French novelist was a goalkeeper too. But it was seen as slightly bizarre." He went on: "You can, of course, love both. I am passionate about the arts, I am passionate about sport. [...] this is a hugely important couple of weeks coming up. Not just because there is a surfeit of activities, sporting at the Olympics, artistic at the Cultural Olympiad and other arts events. [...] Let the Games commence. And with them a whole lot of art, drama, music and dance."

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