In the next few weeks I think I am going to link up many of my blog postings on cultural change, creative industries and the like, into a single categorised page for ease of access.

Grapes, sour-ish:
The dust is settling on the City of Culture decision. Birmingham spent £2-million on the bid. Compared to the price of making and showing a series of TV ads, this was very cost-effective publicity. Liverpool may or may not draw in a cool £500-million on the back of the win, although if that triggers rapid hothouse gentrification of what were formerly creative districts, then it risks pushing the local creative movers & shakers out by the time 2008 rolls around. Brummies can well imagine what would have rapidly happened to Moseley and Handsworth if Birmingham had won. One could, of course, argue that the long-term money-makers – computer-game makers, video companies, professional photographers, magazine publishers, the more professional artists – are ‘refined out’ by gentrification, and are better off by having gravitated out of the inner city to rural barns and suburban loft-conversions. Another risk of the CoC win is that Liverpool’s young musicians could loose their ‘spark’ through being too feather-bedded, and/or be swept up in some kind of NME-style “backlash” among the music press. After all, history suggests the best band-producing engine is a gritty Lost City in which the talented have to ‘Rock or die’; Birmingham & the Black Country in the 70s, Manchester & Salford in the 80s. In Glasgow 1990 that kind of energy had a place-of-refuge in the strong anti-City of Culture movement run by artists and anarchists, but I sense that the Liverpool scene can’t provide that kind of creative tension. They want the shiny glass towers and the Beatles tourists, and they want them now.

The power of blogs, redux:
One blog comment from an influential US blogger; and the Celtic Tiger has its e-claws painfully pulled, in front of thousands of movers & shakers….

“Am travelling in Ireland, which is supposedly the information capital of Europe, but which is in practice a wasteland virtually bereft of broadband access”.