Brendan O'Connor: Ryan's cultural revolution: slinging sanitised art for dollars, yo
Published 05/01/2014 | 02:30
Patricia Ryan sounds like the kind of person you'd want in charge of Limerick City of Culture.
She is certainly a woman who understands that delicate intersection where art and commerce meets. And she understands that if there is going to be conflict, it's easily solved by just getting the artist to change his art. It's only art after all. They all make it up anyway, and shure it's all meaningless, isn't it?
Patricia, it has emerged, expressed some concerns about a rap song written by two lads from Moyross and recorded. She liked it and all -- but she just felt the lads weren't conveying the right sense of Limerick.
In this, Patricia shows the kind of understanding of art, and of rap music, that presumably got her the highly paid job as chief executive of Limerick City of Culture.
As a top culture boss, Patricia understands that the point of rap music has always been to present the city from which it originates in the most positive light possible. Rap music, and hip-hop culture, has always been an extension of the tourist industry. Who among us hasn't listened to the musical stylings of, say, Dr Dre and wanted to pay a visit to Compton or Watts, South Central LA?
Who among us has not wanted to witness some of these homies shooting their posse and doing whatever it is they do with their so-called bitches?
When Eminem immortalised his trailer-trash life coming out of the infamous 8 mile in Detroit, we all flocked there to see the dysfunctional people living in their mobile homes.
And so, steeped in her extensive knowledge of art and hip-hop, Patricia suggested that perhaps the lines, "The city's looking rough when you're walking on the bridge; It's the city where we're tough, there's no place you'd rather live", could perhaps be altered to present Limerick in a more positive light.
With her extensive knowledge of urban street culture and the vernacular of the mean streets of Moyross, perhaps Patricia had in mind that they change it to: "The city looks tremendous when you're walking on the bridge; it's the city where we're stupendous, there's no place you'd rather live -- or if you're not from there perhaps you would like to visit it in 2014."
It's incredible when you think about it that no one has thought of this kind of thing before, that we should get highly paid quasi-government agency types to vet art to ensure it is sending out the right message.
When you think of all the unfortunate portrayals of various places that have appeared in the arts down the years, which no doubt ran contrary to the impression that city officials were trying to present, it seems so obvious now. The artists should have been asked to tweak their work slightly by an official.
Dickens would certainly have had to do a bit of work on his stuff. And Dirty Old Town certainly wouldn't have become the standard it has become without a slight tweak, perhaps to Clean New Town? The possibilities are endless. The Mayor of Guernica, too, should have perhaps had a word with Picasso about portraying that village in a better light, going forward.
As to Patricia, I have the perfect solution to her dilemma. The rap music in question should be excluded in favour of the classic Limerick, You're A Lady.