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Cultural Capital

By Louise Haile


The idea here is to add thoughts on any  CULTURALLY valuable news.. like the obvious at the moment – which is the first anniversary of the death of the influential and creatively central DAVID BOWIE.  What have we lost or gained over the last year?


Who else has left the building recently?

Well one absence worth having some knowledge of is John Berger…..  British, aged 90, he changed a great deal in his influential text WAYS OF SEEING… and then fundamentally altered the media/televisual scene by presenting his controversial ides in highly original and challenging telly series of the same name., in 1972.  He invited us all to SEE in different ways, not just in the traditional and constructed way – and in doing so influenced a new generation of creatives…

‘If I’m a storyteller it’s because I listen’ is what he famously claimed, and as a novelist (G – 1972) he won the Booker prize , as a visionary and critic he has shaped the world of the early 21st century. Perhaps most moving of all is his defence of poetry.. as being essentially ‘ subversive… (in) contesting the way that the world is being (and has been) manipulated’.

You could a lot worse than view a little material about or by Berger for some cultural Brownie Points…..

Susan Sontag once described Berger as peerless in his ability to make “attentiveness to the sensual world” meet “imperatives of conscience”. Jarvis Cocker, to mark a recent book of essays about Berger, said: “There are a few authors that can change the way you look at the world through their writing and John Berger is one of them.”

In reaction to the news of his death, artist David Shrigley called Berger “the best ever writer on art”, and author Jeanette Winterson praised him as “an energy source in a depleted world”.


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