Well, the concert went very well yesterday. (This bloke was a bit sniffy about it, but what does he know? He's just some bloke on the internet, and we all know what their opinions are worth.) Cadogan Hall proved to be a very convivial venue, and we'll definitely be returning there. Unlike the Queen Elizabeth Hall, unfortunately. We've played there regularly over the years, and hoped to do so this month too, but after much dogged pursuit of a date, we were told that we couldn't be guaranteed a date due to all the other things in store for January, and finally that KSO doesn't fit in with the South Bank's artistic vision, although they might consider at some point putting on some sort of festival of amateur music making, in which case we might be lucky enough to be invited to take part. Pretty much told to bugger off and stop bothering them, really.
Now, I could argue against the idea that an organisation like KSO has no part in the artistic vision of somewhere like the SBC, but if they feel they've already ticked their boxes for classical/orchestral/amateur performance without us, that's their loss. But the fact is that of the 31 days in January 2008, 21 are dark at the QEH, and you have to wonder what kind of artistic vision sees itself as so important that it's better to have a publicly-funded venue empty than to have a respected amateur band like KSO in it. This is not vision, it's an obscenity, and someone needs to start asking what the hell is going on. This Grauniad article from 2006 profiling artistic director Jude Kelly (one of a large number of plum arts jobs she's landed) gives a worrying picture of how she thinks, all bland meaningless buzzwords and platitudes unencumbered by any concrete ideas, and from what I gather talking to various people involved in performing arts at all sorts of levels, there seems to be a feeling that while she is very insistent about what doesn't fit in with her "vision", no-one seems to be able to say exactly what, in any definite terms, that vision is.
If you go to the SBC website and click on "Venue hire" (right at the bottom, not very obvious), you see this:
As well as being a world-class arts venue, Southbank Centre has a variety of auditoria, rooms and spaces that can be hired for a wide range of events, including conferences, AGMs, product launches, graduation ceremonies, receptions, dinners and weddings.
Nothing about concerts or anything like that, you'll notice.
Dark nights and wedding receptions. Is this the bold artistic vision driving the South Bank Centre?