Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Social mobility shocker: Charts light on oiks

Interestingly, the Daily Mail seems genuinely upset that the charts are being 'dominated' by public school kids:

In 1990 the charts were full of bands espousing working class angst and northern soul.

But some twenty years on it seems that it is British public schools that are delivering the pop stars of the moment.

A new survey into the heritage of modern musical acts has found that 60 per cent of acts in the charts today - attended public school - compared to just one per cent two decades ago.
It suggests the main reason for this is the cutting of public funding for music lessons - steady on, Mail, you're starting to sound like you're pre-May Liberal Democrats or something.

There is the another possibility, though, that it's just become more respectable for posh kids to be in bands now.

Also, back in 1990, the charts felt a lot older - Maria McKee, Madonna, Cliff, Paula Abdul, the B-52s, Elton John. Could it be that bands aren't actually getting any posher, but they're having hits younger, and so the kids who in 1990 would scuff about for a couple of years, go 'sod this, I'm going to call Uncle Barney and get a job at the merchant bank' are actually being successful before their trust fund manager threatens to cut them off?


4 comments:

Robin Carmody said...

A comparison of the modern Mail or Telegraph (especially their websites) with any edition of those papers from twenty years ago or earlier actually gives a very good indication of the root cause, which is the legacy of Thatcherism and the consequent near-death of wariness of commercialism among those who educate their children privately.

Music lessons in the age the Mail is talking about were hardly likely to encourage aptitude in *pop* music. Another aspect of Thatcherism whose long march is evident here is the cutting of social funding in many other areas, but the Mail would normally applaud such things and could barely restrain its genteel hysteria when Blur beat Oasis to number one.

Those who were educated privately have played a major role in the pop process virtually since Suez rendered the elders of their class marginal and laughable on the international stage - they may not historically have made the records, but as managers and bankrollers of offshore radio stations, they played an immense role in bringing the records to the ears of the mass. Some of the post-Blair Left, who are in danger of developing a vision of 1966 as romanticised and false as the Majorite idea of 1955, need to remember that.

WE ARE said...

I blame this Harry Potter and his bloody boarding school education. In the 80's the yoof wanted to be in Grange Hill, and the music then was FANTASTIC, remember?

Anonymous said...

Wait. I don't get it. Is that a typo, or are "public" schools in Britain the ones you pay for? So, 2 decades ago only one percent of pop musicians were educated by the government as opposed to rich parents, or did you mean "private" instead of "public"?

bronchia said...

Anon - public schools are the poshest of the private schools. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Schools_Act_1868

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