Unrestrained joy here at Blogger HQ as news filters down that SWRDA, the laughably inept regional development quango for the south west, has decided to subsidise the ‘creative industries’ in Bristol to the tune of £6m. The beneficiaries of this 70s-style government handout are none other than the Watershed media centre, the already heavily subsidised Harbourside cinema with a bar that now describes itself as “a creative networking hub”.
The Watershed is, of course, one of the ‘must go’ destinations for the Firetrap clad laptoperati of the city. These are people who don’t seem to have to do too much all day except sip fairtrade cappuccinos, eat overpriced nachos and talk loudly about ‘growing the output potential of web 2.0’ any time a gullible civil servant with a budget is in earshot.
Quite why SWRDA thinks this group are in such urgent need of a subsidy to fund their leisure activities as opposed to say street cleaners, nurses, lorry drivers or any other group who actually do a proper day’s work in the city is not really made clear.
But then it’s not very clear what these ‘creative industries’ are either. Both SWRDA and The Watershed have produced breathless press releases full of digital waffle naming the usual suspects – Aardman, the BBC Natural History Unit, Endemol, none of whom are exactly short of cash – and assuring us Bristol will be the “most creative city in the UK”.
Just like we were going to be the European Capital of Culture, the digital hub of the UK and most recently ‘The Green Capital of Europe’? How does this city do it?
Er, mainly by turning out increasingly inane press releases and shoving public cash at a privileged minority to talk up this week’s daft idea. But what really gets The Blogger is why – if all these people are so creative, exciting and cutting edge – they can’t make any bloody money?
In a final neat twist, The Blogger learns that The Watershed intends to spend some of its new found wealth on what it charmingly describes as “driving out the yob element” from the Harbourside. That’ll be anyone ordinary who likes a drink and a laugh on a Friday night then.
Watershed boss Dick Penny says, “the night-time environment isn’t exactly synergistic with our inclusive creative culture.”
Fucking sorry Dick. Sorry to spoil you and your creative mates’ Harbourside view and all that. Sorry we’re not all media creatives with sod-all to do all day and a fat budget off the government to play with. And sorry we’re not all quite refined enough for you.
I mean how could anyone think that Bristol’s docks were ever anything to do with the working classes of this city?