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The Fry and the Sell Out

May 13, 2011


  Driving home late last night, I happened to catch the very end of an interview on CBC Radio 1 with British DJ Kissy Sell Out talking about the irrelevance  of classical music to today’s youth.   He had just finished participating in a debate on the subject at Cambridge University’s Cambridge Union Society with actor, comedian, writer, and avid classical music lover, Stephen Fry, and was giving CBC his run-down on the event.

Not having heard the entire interview, I can’t really comment on it, but to get an idea of where he was coming from you can read this pre-debate article Sell Out wrote for the UK’s “The Independent” newspaper defending his affirmative stance.

Then you can read this (not biased at all in any way) post-debate article from “The Telegraph” newspaper with the *Spoiler Alert* headline:  “Cambridge Union declares classical music not irrelevant after all”.

The full debate can be watched on the Cambridge Union Society website.

This wasn’t a tongue-in-cheek joke parading as a debate (I don’t think Greg Sandow would be involved if it was), although I’m sure it didn’t score low on the entertainment scale.  How could it with a dj and a comedian headlining?  No matter what direction the debate might have swung (although you can probably guess I’m okay with the final outcome), I’m just glad that this is even seen as a viable topic for discussion in a public forum.  I’m having an impossible time imagining a similar debate happening here in North America, let alone getting any coverage from mainstream media…  Uh, nope, wouldn’t happen.  (Cue ominous music as we see our musical crisis looming on the not-so-distant horizon.  Can it be averted??  Stay tuned…)

The debate itself will doubtfully do anything to sway people’s opinions as far as relevance vs. irrelevance –  you can’t transform the emotional landscape of a person’s musical DNA with an intellectual argument; and relevance ultimately finds its hold in education and understanding – but to engage in this dialogue says to me that classical music is far from going the way of the dinosaurs.  If it were, this would be a non-debate and a topic far from the forefront of verbal sparrings.  So, hopefully Classical fans everywhere can take heart – it looks like the fat lady is off on vacation and doesn’t plan to do any singing any time soon.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 14, 2011 11:49 pm

    ….is THIS the post that almost got lost but didn’t after all? Glad it was salvageable.

    Happier still to hear the fat lady’s not dead yet. I mean, singing…or whatever that saying is.

    a.

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