Alan Jacobs writes of a Ray Davies of the Kinks and his nostalgia for the shared musical life with his sister Rene
Oklahoma!might show you some of the shortcomings of your world, but it didn’t necessarily make you hate it. There was a way to bring those distant beauties into your everyday life.
But perhaps this can only be done if you’re a creator and performer as well as a consumer. Davies’s sister Rene went to the movies, yes, but she also danced in the ballrooms and played piano with her brother. She made those songs her own by using her body and her voice, rather than merely observing the words and movements of others. Perhaps we have the power to incorporate mass culture into our lives — but not by just consuming it.
It’s not just for Davies, or for nostalgia to English working class culture.
If we are to be collaborators and co-creators then we would be well-served by creating cultural spaces for this work to take place. Art not as product but co-creation is the stuff of arts / music education. The tragedy being that we have been steadily stripping such programs from our communities in the performance driven educational reforms.