July 26th, 2006


The art of pop

I'm busy in the staff room today, so I'd like to leave you in the hands of a relief teacher. Class, this is Mr Cocker. Anything funny about that name, Louise? No? Thank you. Now, Mr Cocker has a very interesting presentation for you today. He's made a report on his tape-recorder about the effect of British art schools on British pop music. Let's just thread the spools, then you can listen to it. Mr Cocker went to Central Saint Martins, admittedly quite a while after he started his pop group Pulp. He was a bit ambivalent about the value of an art school education at the time: his thesis was all about how students would be much better off if all the art schools were closed down for five years. Which didn't go down terribly well with the tutors, obviously. But now he feels that what's valuable about these largely 19th century institutions is the eccentricity they foster. You'll hear, for instance, one tutor reminisce fondly about the year the staff of the sculpture department wore brown paper bags over their heads. No, Raymond, you may not put a bag over your head. We're not at art school yet.

All right, settle down, settle down now everybody and listen to Mr Cocker's report. I shall be back presently to ask you questions.