Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ASPects of Culture - Special Editorial in Outlet 10 (1989)

By Outlet 10 (Summer 1989) The magazine and the Cleveland Writing Scene had developed considerably....

ASPects of Culture
Editorial Comment

Outlet No10
Outlet 10
 first issue in 1986. Apart from things that Outlet and later Write Around stimulated, developments were being planned for the arts locally as part of a wider economic plan to attract businesses and executives from the south to relocate here. The Evening Gazette ran a series of articles on it at the time. Some of the things mention in our editorial are now well established. The Teasdale area of Stockton for instance. Here is the special editorial from Outlet 10 which was part of aseries of Devil's Advocate columns in Outlet. This issue of Outlet was used in the making of the BBC 2 Open Space programme about Outlet and Write Around in 1990.

ASPects of Culture (by Trev Teasdel)

As I write, the sun is spinning down on Cleveland, weaving a web of delight in winter-worn hearts and but for faint smells of chemicals nuzzling their way 'long  Saltburn beach and countless condoms and traces of turd that align our coast, Cleveland is arrayed in all its splendour.It really is a beautiful county.


Saltburn Beach

And Cleveland is blooming in so many ways. The council are saying it with flowers that spring up surprisingly on unsuspecting roadsides and traffic islands, stealing our breath and our hearts and minds. And the landscapers, let loose, have added a brush of fresh air to the canvass of Cleveland. Concrete and rude industry and rust ridden rails can increasingly be found in a caress of green shoots. And in the crumbling heart of an industrial wasteland, landscaped estates peep through midst the tired tedious terraces.


And the New industrialists, visionaries, planners and developers present posies of proposals from control towers of power and capital investment to improve on the cash-scape and work-scape of the now crumbling 'Infant Hercules'  as Gladstone called Middlesbrough in 1860. Spinning Tees-wise into twenty-first-century-ness, and speak in scenarios of Marinas, London-ish bridges, weirs and lakes and leisure parks and tropical pools in scintillating shopping centres (this was proposed for Captain Cook's Square in Middlesbrough but never materialised).


Tees Barrage - Stockton on Tees
And Culture ''izza comin' with a capital city. Visions of arts centres, Colleges of culture, centres of excellence, TV and

Outlet 11
 recording  studios springing up surprisingly along the roadsides of our minds (you mean you never saw the Gazette?). The promise of real culture imported from the lower regions- you know -that stuff from the South..poetry...dance, drama and 'scope'. (Ok what's Scope?). A new twenty-first-century art form just coined in need of an activity! Let us know if you come up with anything! Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Teesside in the vanguard of progress! (Issue 11 of Outlet pictured here show the Teasdale area of Stockton as it was then -a derelict industrial area - the photos show it as it is today)

However, I can't help thinking that it's a shame we have to wait for a threatened invasion of ASPS (Affluent Southern Persons) before we stand of chance of getting what other places have in abundance.We all know that any successful economic strategy needs to attract a certain amount of 

labour,expertise and investment from other areas and that it would produce a

Stockton - looking across to the Teasdale area
 beneficial cross-fertisilation of ideas and influences but I must admit I winced a bit at the emphasis put on providing these facilities to attract ASPS. Ain't the people of Cleveland worth it? It all seems part of the sindrome which looks down upon and devalues the indigenous population.

Outlet Says... 
Given that this cultural honeycomb is being dangled to attract swarms of ASPS - does it mean, as is being whispered in the hedgerows of Cleveland, that the honeypot of jobs will be creamed off by them? Outlet asks to what extent will Clevelanders get a look in?

Outlet Says....
Don't forget the people of Cleveland when recruiting. The postmark proclaims "Teesside - Initiative - Talent - and Enterprise" Do they really believe it or is the post-mark just a piece of empty rhetoric?

Outlet Says...
Any development of the Arts in Cleveland should first and foremost be for the people of Cleveland with the added advantage of making this area more attractive to ASPS, not the other way around!

Outlet Says...
That talk of High Art and Centres of Excellence in Cleveland is very good and not before time so long as the bias is not all towards consumption of art. The participatory arts are as important. Involvement and encouragement are a vital key towards self-development and aids understanding and this has a vital part to play in the development of the area and the quality of life there-in.

Outlet Says...
The training of young people at a college of Creative Arts for careers in the arts is a great idea but remember that the encouragement of creative endeavour is just as important for those whose only aims are self-development and self-expression. Planners, visionaries and developers should plan also for the provision of workshops, courses and facilities for the development of creative expression as a leisure activity. A creative mind is the most important resource in the world!
Outlet Wants to See...
These things done done in the interest of and with the respect for the people of Cleveland, not solely in the name of rude profit and outside investors who most likely couldn't give a damn!

Re-editing my way along Saltburn beach, the sea glides in and out sea-tossing stranded turds and condoms,calling out with watery lips to be freed from the burden of pollution, making a mockery as Saltburn's efforts to resurrect itself. How many ASPS will want to live beside the shit-side? And looking back along the coast, the sun holds its nose as it sinks in the evening sky, crimson above Redcar Steel works, as rich, rust-red gunge gushes out long the ground over the town to mingle with yellow sulphurous scent from ICI blown down the coast,'cross the sea, or back to the Boro.Sadly the sun gasps and falls from the sky and is seen no more. How many ASPS will stand the STINC!!

The original Page in Outlet No 10

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