As a musician, poet and writer, I engage with society through a holistic approach to creativity and expression.

I am critical of the boundaries created and reproduced by the concept of ‘art’ and instead immerse myself in the fluidity of culture – feeling no need to separate out, and indeed hierarchisise, everyday cultural activity (or low art) in relation to more abstract reflections (high art).

I am definitely mainstream in that sense.

I do not position myself as an objective critic or aloof artist. I am a participator in mass culture, as one of the so-called pacified mob, as a product of capitalism.

My hands are not clean. I am not above it all.

The reason for this declaration of allegiance is not solely inspired by my usual, and admittedly gratifying, swipe at the self-named intellectuals but actually is crucial, in my opinion, to understanding society.

‘If we were doing our jobs properly the chances are that many of the critics would be very hostile to us anyway since their ideological concepts are completely in opposition to ours.’ (MacColl, 1985)

More importantly, as an intersectional Marxist feminist, I know that the strategic position of the working class means that we will have a specific role to play. I am proud of our intellectual and artist traditions, particularly that of oppressed and excluded groups – those who have been created by and yet fought within and against the establishment, formal (traditional) cultural institutions, commercial cultural mediator or the culture industry.

‘people walk out, not many people, but people who disagree walk out they’re so angry. Some shout things, I really feel we would be getting somewhere if they threw things, like at a football match at a footballer who misses a goal. That’s the way art should be treated, with that kind of response. Not with this bloody polite response where you never sure if whether you are admired or your critic is asleep or not!’ (MacColl,1985)

Unlike the Adornian disillusionment with the masses, I can see the relationship between dominant hegemonies and popular cultures (and indeed counter-cultures and sub-cultures), is far more complex and multi-dimensional. It is in the contradictions and cracks of society, that we all exist – pushing back and exploring…

Because culture is not just shaped by society, but in turn shapes us all.


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