EVERYONE A STAR

This year saw the opening of the multi million pound IMAX cinema on Londons swinging Southbank. This landmark heritage project funded by the State not only provides visitors with a spectacle more real than life itself, it also provided the authorities with an exuse to demolish the Bullring underpass which had become home to a community of homeless people, who after a bitter struggle were evicted from their cardboard boxes and moved on to somewhere less spectacular. Now devotees of Motzart, Monet and Merchant Ivory no longer have to run the gauntlet of fucked up humanity on their walk from Waterloo to the Cathedrals of Art. MEANWHILE Plans are well underway for the building of a huge multiplex cinema/car park in Crystal Palace park destroying trees and generally trashing the park in spite of the fact that South Londons original cinemas have been allowed to fall into dereliction, in fact, less than two miles away a beautiful egyptian style cinema in Forest Hill is boarded up and having its windows smashed.

Looking back on the 20th century its pretty obvious that for all its isms and schisms and banal sensations, Art is going to go down in history as a peripheral and mostly irrelevant subculture of the ruling class. Everyone else now realises that popular culture has defined the century, that the cultural masterpieces of the 20th century are comic books, pop albums, pulp novels, TV Shows, pulp book covers and of course popular cinema.The trouble of course is that this sublime pop culture has up untill recently been industrially mass produced for a mass audience. Mass cinema culture is imposed on us from above, we are always the fans condemned to gaze at the distant stars, always the audience never in the film, the story grinds on relentlessly. Anyway what is popular cinema for ? Is it an industrial process? Is it a scientific experiment? Is it a holy union with the divine ? Is it the expression of an imaginative genius ? Is it a consumer product ? Over the last few years the British state has been pumping hundreds of millions of pounds of National Lottery funding into the British film industry and for why ? Where are the films ? Where has the money gone ?