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Tricycling in Politics

August 13, 2014

The news that the Tricycle Theatre has caused promoters to cancel a film festival by first requesting to view the films, then questioning how it is funded, ‘got’ to me this week. What does it mean? Should I “de-list” the venue? Protest? Applaud it? Throw up?

The “pre-viewing” request was obviously ridiculous, but to go on to the funding thing… whatever their motive… is particularly odd, isn’t it… I mean, as in really strangely deluded thinking…

My reasoning is that in this day and age, you can NEVER be sure where the money is coming from for anything at all. Where something is made (labelling isn’t quite what consumers think it is), how it is produced, who funds it and owns the factory and what else they do. You just can never know.

I know it sounds harsh, but I know darn well that I will, totally inadvertently, have bought something at some time that was produced by a child or underpaid resident of a state that abuse its nationals.

Out there is a miner dying because I want a new computer built with rare toxic ores that he dug up without having protective clothing available, that his wife washed with her bare hands, taking the toxins into her body, and that his 10 year old son and daughter stacked when they should have been in school rather than absorbing poison. And then repeated in reverse when my old machine was sent back to their country for re-cycling. If you are using a computer to read this, sorry, but it could have been you too…

There’s fantastic hotels in London owned by ruling elites of nations who think gender and religious discrimination is fine. Happy theme parks with investment from oppressive regimes. Cars produced by manufacturers that make weapons parts and perhaps once engineered components for gas chambers. Drug companies who produce wonderful medicines but won’t offer them cheap to those who really need them but can’t afford them.

I’m probably exaggerating (I hope to the highest that I am), but… like I said, it’s a global economy and someone, somewhere is leading a miserable life so that mine can be unbelievably rich and comfortable in a way they wouldn’t even dream of because they don’t even know it exists. On the other hand, they have work and so are not in danger of starving to death while they do… but it’s flippant to say that’s not a bad trade-off, isn’t it.

Yes, sanctions can sometimes work – largely where a country can at least feed itself and the elite are the ones to suffer. But all I am saying is that to identify “sources of income” as a reason to react may be a tad simplistic…

oh, and just out of interest…

I bet much of the I.T. the Tricycle use was developed by programmers whose education and training were funded by the particular government the theatre is trying to make a statement about. Should probably go back to good old paper tickets and sliding light-boards for the duration, if they feel that way about how things are funded, perhaps…

The problem is that entrenching positions and closing dialogue won’t solve anything – that’s what gets the world into these situations; all sides must keep talking. Privately, I’ve resolved that I’ll think twice about going there in the future… no full boycott because, as I said, dialogue is the only way to solve anything – but just, well, “is my visit REALLY necessary.” Shame, as “Handbagged” was one of the funniest shows I’ve seen this year.

But seriously, if a theatre is becoming politically self-censoring, rather than using the stage for the correct purpose – to explore issues through drama – then where does it end? Where does it all end?

EDIT: Since this entry was published, on 15th August 2014, common sense prevailed and the venue rescinded the condition. Why they thought it was a good idea in the first place… still, it gave me a blog entry…

I’m taking a blogging break for a couple of weeks. Thanks for reading, and see you all on 3rd September. Have a good summer.

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