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« Conferring | Main | Energy costs in the absence of policy »
Monday
Feb092015

New Atlantis, same old problems

Well you can't fault the green movement's persistence. With the National Theatre's Greenland having being a spectacular flop and last year's 2071 having apparently failed to set the pulse racing too, the London luvvies are having yet another attempt to bring the public on board.

The new show is called The New Atlantis and, being green, gets lots of free publicity courtesy of the BBC.

At the futuristic venue, The Crystal, on the Thames in East London, the cast of New Atlantis is rehearsing for the new production, named after a fictitious intergovernmental organisation managing water supply in the capital.

Various arguments about policy break out as the actors rehearse their lines. "Only centralisation of water management and the defence against greed and hostile use of the resource can continue New Atlantis' work," says the General.

"What is needed now is reform - we need to see changes in attitudes and changes in lifestyle," says another employee of New Atlantis.

This is immersive theatre, where, apart from set pieces, actors are obliged to go off script.

Cor, sounds good eh?

I looked for some reviews and found this:

In fact even the Guardian didn't like it. If at first you don't succeed...

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Reader Comments (44)

Obviously supported by Arts Council England - using tax payers funds.

Feb 9, 2015 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered Commentermartin

Nothing like a hefty dollop of 'immersive theatre' to set the pulse a' racing.

Feb 9, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

"...New Atlantis [...] under the calming leadership of Secretary General Bryony Weller..."

I cannot believe that the use of such an uncommon first name is a coincidence.

Feb 9, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

"Only centralisation of water management and the defence against greed and hostile use of the resource can continue New Atlantis' work,"

Astounding poetry

Feb 9, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I heard the BBC doing a little interview the other morning, somewhere around 6:00.

Mark Lynas on why I changed my mind about all the things...there are?

Damage done m8...and to yourself I think?

But thats the BBC largely...hide it from the masses and claim to be balanced.

Feb 9, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

A bit off-topic, but I was at a party over the weekend, in conversation with a woman whose daughter had trained as a geologist, and who was currently working for an environmental organisation supporting wind-farm development.

I began to suggest that this might not be a job with a reliable future, and was interested in her response. "Yes", she said. Her daughter had taken up the job from University, full of idealism and a desire to save the world. But now she was disillusioned, of the opinion that her job was actively damaging and that she had been tricked into believing that wind farms were necessary.

"..but what can she do? She's just keeping her head down now and hoping that the job will keep going for a few years more...".

Feb 9, 2015 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Imagine if we were to travel into the past and ask left leaning western actors to portray a world dominated by capitalism and to explore how communism might be the answer, we might see something similar to this ‘play’. There wouldn’t be the burning urgency felt by the genuinely oppressed Russians but there would be a vague sense that mankind was heading in the wrong direction. The result would be pessimistic and wooden. They would have placed themselves in the role of valiant freedom fighters who tried to warn us about the dangerous path we were following. The evil capitalist businessmen would have been harshly but justifiably dealt with. Such a play certainly wouldn’t have captured a scintilla of the changes that have happened since the Russian Revolution. And we all know how that turned out.

One of the things that bemuses me about warmists is their total disconnect from the issue they campaign on. In their minds CO2 is something done to them by evil oil barons. They fixate on the idea that governments signing on a dotted line will save us, instead of ever wondering ‘how the heck will WE do this and are we even sure it’s necessary?’

When did you ever read a warmist talking about their struggles to cut CO2? When did you even see them discuss their CO2 footprint? Even fat people think about dieting. Warmists never, ever look in the CO2 mirror. Which is why they are doomed to fail and why their creative efforts are two dimensional and almost certainly wrong.

Feb 9, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I wonder if the carbon footprint of this show would have been reduced, if it had been staged open air. The Grauniad would have liked it, if they had been sat on wet grass in freezing conditions, with lighting provided by teams of cyclists, pedalling furiously to power dynamos.

Their target audience, would happily pay double, for such a futuristic experience.

Feb 9, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Well you can't fault the green movement's persistence.

These are people who feel they do not get the attention their noble and wise attitudes deserve. Look at me! Society is annoyingly indifferent to them. No matter how much attention they do manage to get, it's never enough.

So 'persistence' is probably the wrong word. 'Desperation' would be closer to the mark.

Feb 9, 2015 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I wonder if they'll leave out the bit where the bureaucrats vote themselves huge increases in pay (while attending a conference in some blissful place).

Feb 9, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

TinyCO2
They don't look in the "CO2 mirror" because CO2 isn't really what it's all about, is it?
The objective is de-industrialisation, which means putting an end to what has been the driving force for industrialisation for 200 years, reliable, relatively cheap energy. CO2-caused global warming is the current most convenient means by which this end might be attained because it is the guaranteed end-product of the production of that energy and also can be portrayed as an existential threat to the environment.
As this laughable (except that it ain't funny) attempt at drama shows, totalitarianism, in this case in the guise of 'centralisation' to prevent the evil capitalists from making profit and making "hostile use" of water (the only mildly amusing idea in the quote above!), is never far behind.
(Edinburgh Festival) Fringe performers were doing this sort of thing with slightly different subject matter 50 years ago and attracting audiences of three, if you included the producer and a passing wino and his dog. Today, regrettably, the likes of the BBC take them seriously which is potentially a dangerous development and just one more reason to cut off its taxpayer funding.

Feb 9, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Double Ouch.

Feb 9, 2015 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Take a pinch of science and mix it with a bowl of political opportunism and you get Al Gore. Mix it with a bowl of literary skill and a longing to influence and you get Crispin Tickell or Mark Lynas. Mix it with a bowl of thespian self-righteousness and you get all manner of things, including I suppose, the awful-sounding 'event' described above.

Feb 9, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Bish:

"the London luvvies are having yet another attempt to bring the public on board." Surely that should read "the London luvvies have had yet another (failed) attempt to bring the public on board." The last performance was on 25 January.

Feb 9, 2015 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Nice to see the BBC cheerleading the green zealotry at the public expense!

Perhaps they could spend more time making good science programmes than their normal nonsense. Nah real science programmes will need real scientists, something the BBC wouldn't understand!

Feb 9, 2015 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Mike Jackson: re Industrialisation. On one of Booker's threads there was a Green disciple insisting that we need to 'De-grow the economy'.

Feb 9, 2015 at 2:30 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

The play invited me to change my lifestyle. I obliged by not going to see it. If everyone did the same then the play would be a success. Ergo they succeeded on their own terms.

Feb 9, 2015 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTDK

Bensalem

Ahem .....

Who's in charge of water? ...........

Ah, yes.....

The Enviro-ment Agency

Feb 9, 2015 at 3:04 PM | Registered Commentertomo

It amuses me that the critics of Wolf Hall moan on about the poor lighting because it was filmed using tallow candles. Perhaps they should pause to think what our world would be like without electricity.
But this play is about water.
Perhaps we should revert to drinking small beer.............

Feb 9, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

"Only centralisation of water management and the defence against greed and hostile use of the resource can continue New Atlantis' work,"

Not exactly "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers", is it? It has a ring of revolutionary propaganda about it.

Feb 9, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterrabbit

Harry Passfield
What more needs to be said?
One of the advantages of being an English graduate is you have the sort of brain that mucks about with words — sort of torturing them till they come round to your way of thinking, as it were.
"De-grow" is lovely. It takes its place alongside "negative inflation" as an example of telling lies and the truth at the same time.
Hirohito's "the war has developed - not necessarily to Japan's advantage" was an offshoot of the idea that always appealed to me. He should have been an Englishman!

Feb 9, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

They might do better to revive Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. The problem is, that is exactly what modern Greens are.

Feb 9, 2015 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

New Atlantis ,Old Atlantis

They both sunk

Feb 9, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

They should live in a "New Atlantis" for a while. Intermittent electricity, local food delivered by electric lories (without refrigeration), but all the untreated water they can carry.

Feb 9, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSlywolfe

@CharmingQuark actually unlike its news staff the Controversial-BBC does have some scientists in its programme staff. However their trick it presententing a constructed reality is as ever to cherry pick your scientists in the first place eg R4 scrapped Material World and replaced it with Insideous Science choosing Adam Rutherford a former student of ecoloony Steve Jones to present it as hes on-message. Likewise other progs do involve scientists Al-kelili,Cox etc but it's like there are two lists the green-list and the black-list.

Feb 9, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

So why are the arts establishment so right on lefty all the time? As a lefty myself it is because I’ve thought through the issues and made up my mind. But that clearly isn’t the case as a default for the arts establishment. If it were the case there would be more diversity of opinion. Please let me throw some thoughts around to address why this occurs. It’s more use than sighing or sneering.

It I seven more strange on the Climate issue where they have no expertise in the science (Pretty much by definition) and the lefty approach to the issue is regressive – bad for the poor.

So why?
I’ll rule out the dependency on the state for arts funding – it may be true of these guys but hardly for Hollywood Blockbusters. Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t rely on Arts Council funding.

I will rule in institutional bias left over from the fight with the Church (the conservative establishment) over censorship and the fight with McCarthy. Even so, that does seem to be a little obsolete now. It can’t be still so uniform even with the nepotistic barriers to entry into the arts. There ought to be more opposition to us left-wingers in the arts establishment by now.

My thought is that the Arts Establishment really isn’t that good at art. Archaeologists inspecting our homes would find far more conservative nationalist art (from war movies like the Dambusters to Constable-esque water colours) than the “proper” art of the Arts Establishment.

And the Arts Establishment doesn’t even notice that it is just one facet of the arts. Because they aren’t told about it. It’s the publicists and reviewers who elevate art as newsworthy and notable. And they are left-wing because that is how they determine what is newsworthy and notable.

In short, the entire left-wing bias of the arts is down to a lack of insight from the critics. There is no Ruskin with his definite scale of aesthetics. There is no Greene with his Catholic background to measure against the shock of the new. There is only woolly thinking that plays the memory game – matching art with inspiration. The critics cannot create a definition of “good art” because that would allow the market to intervene and make them redundant.

This is because the final arbiter of quality is the mighty dollar. Which makes the critic obsolete. Unless the critic can create a value in non-commercial art. And such a value must be anti-market.

It’s art for artist’s sake – not art for the consumer’s sake – within the Arts Establishment.

Feb 9, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

stewgreen

This is the same Brian Cox who said "Climate Wars" was an example of good television! And gave the Guardian interview below.

"He said scientists could say with total confidence that climate science was uncontroversial and the current predictions for warming were the best advice available."

"“The scientific view at the time is the best, there’s nothing you can do that’s better than that. So there’s an absolutism. It’s absolutely the best advice,” he said."

“What I think about climate change actually is it’s obviously true and clearly true to all of us who look at the debate that goes on.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/03/brian-cox-scientists-climate-change

I do not think I will rate him much as a scientist!

Feb 9, 2015 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Sounds like a load of cr@p pushing a croc of sh1t.

Feb 9, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Constable

Mike Jackson:

Gordon Brown, in his hideously clumsy way, brain-box shorting, eyes twitching, higher-brain functions (if any) nearing meltdown, paved the way here, declaring at PMQS in July 2009 in a desperate attempt to assert that black had always been white and that government spending would increase even as it was being forcibly cut, there being no money left (to his evident and intense fury), that: "Total [government] spending will continue to rise and it will be a zero per cent rise in 2012–13". Ten months later, he was spending more time with his family. And his brain was still shorting out. As apparently remains the case today.

Feb 9, 2015 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Feb 9, 2015 at 4:35 PM | CharmingQuark

I do not think I will rate him much as a scientist!

You're not the only one:

http://motls.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/brian-coxs-incompetence.html#more

Feb 9, 2015 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

If it's entertainment you seek, I can recommend 'Kingsman: The Secret Service'. Hilarious - not least because of Samuel L. Jackson as a lisping villain who is obsessed with global warming and regards humanity as a cancer that needs curing. Where have we heard that before?

Feb 9, 2015 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

Love the second comment on the Grauniad :-

JohnBen - "I went to see this. Had no real expectations, but god it was bad. Utter drivel."

At least Art is reflecting the reality of the projections ;0)

Feb 9, 2015 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

"why are the arts establishment so right on lefty all the time?" MCourtney

I think it's because they start out in something that pays very badly and treats its juniors terribly. By the time they reach success, they're bitter at society for not funding them while they perfeted their abilities. At the same time many of their friends are still languishing in benefits funded obscurity. The riches they earn are of course theirs by right of suffering.

There is of course the champagne socialists who always had money but they're left wing because they're guilty over generations of their ancestors racking up fortunes on the backs of us plebs. It was ironic that Labour minister bewailing that there were so many people from wealthy back grounds in the successful end of the arts.

Feb 9, 2015 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

So why are the arts establishment so right on lefty all the time?

Because they Do Nothing and never have to suffer the consequences of their professional actions.

The same obtains for journalists, bureaucrats, most NGOs, Green activists and far too many politicians.

They say that the only conservatives in Hollywood are the stunt men, because they actually Do Things, and if they do them wrong, they die.

Feb 10, 2015 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

A boring, self-righteous lecture and haranguing? Who wouldn't pay to see that?

Feb 10, 2015 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMickey Reno

How are 'left' and 'right' defined? for me, it's a sterile depiction of a false 'spectrum', popularised in the '30s by Stalin to differentiate his version of socialism from Germany's. It's the same mutable spectrum as 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' or Shakespeare's 'Head' or 'Heart'. The reality is that we each incorporate both, and fluctuate with age/circumstance. The 'right' wing embraces individuality, personal responsibility and freedom. It hates 'big state'. The 'left' wing espouses collective 'beliefs' and hates selfish individuals. This was all fine when politics was representative, but no longer. 'Left' may be good when it stands for fair and equitable society but not when it demands compliance with its prevailing belief system and systematically closes down the means to dissent. All collective beliefs are abstract - they exist purely to facilitate co-operation. There is no more or less truth in magic, religion, money, politics, global warming or human rights. They are all abstract concepts and neither good nor bad in themselves - there are only good and bad interpretations.


The missing link that brings you up to date is a concerted effort to lose the cold war by taking Soviet funding to campaign against the west's nuclear weapons. The only two times I've felt it would be dangerous to speak out were in a college 'Peace Group' meeting in 1982 and in a 'global warming debate' at the BBC. Neither venue was a safe place to say 'that's not true - and it wouldn't take you very long to confirm for yourself that it isn't true.'

Feb 10, 2015 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Observation

"So why are the arts establishment so right on lefty all the time? As a lefty myself it is because I’ve thought through the issues and made up my mind."


How are 'left' and 'right' defined? for me, it's a sterile depiction of a false 'spectrum', popularised in the '30s by Stalin to differentiate his version of socialism from Germany's. It's the same mutable spectrum as 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' or Shakespeare's 'Head' or 'Heart'. The reality is that we each incorporate both, and fluctuate with age/circumstance. The 'right' wing embraces individuality, personal responsibility and freedom. It hates 'big state'. The 'left' wing espouses collective 'beliefs' and hates selfish individuals. This was all fine when politics was representative, but no longer. 'Left' may be good when it stands for fair and equitable society but not when it demands compliance with its prevailing belief system and systematically closes down the means to dissent. All collective beliefs are abstract - they exist purely to facilitate co-operation. There is no more or less truth in magic, religion, money, politics, global warming or human rights. They are all abstract concepts and neither good nor bad in themselves - there are only good and bad interpretations.

I will rule in institutional bias left over from the fight with the Church (the conservative establishment) over censorship and the fight with McCarthy."
The missing link that brings you up to date is a concerted effort to lose the cold war by taking Soviet funding to campaign against the west's nuclear weapons. The only two times I've felt it would be dangerous to speak out were in a college 'Peace Group' meeting in 1982 and in a 'global warming debate' at the BBC. Neither venue was a safe place to say 'that's not true - and - and it wouldn't take you very long to confirm for yourself that it isn't true.'

Richard

Feb 10, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterOld Forge

@Golf Charlie: "...with lighting provided by teams of cyclists, pedalling furiously to power dynamos."

I actually went to a show in Glasgow a few years ago, which purported to be exactly that. Members of the public were invited to leap on one of the tethered bicycles and "keep the show running". Of course, a close look showed the whole thing to be a fraud - the cycles were powering nothing, and the lights were running off the mains, courtesy of good old Hunterston B, no doubt.

But I expect many or most people believed it.

Feb 10, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

"So why are the arts establishment so right on lefty all the time? "

Because if it weren't for enforced collective action they'd be sitting on the pavement hugging their dogs and asking passers-by if they have any spare change?

So much easier to get the State to mug the taxpayers and pass the money straight to them; naturally they're in favour of the Big State - the bigger the better.

Feb 10, 2015 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

Andrew Duffin, the Greens, very good at theatrical demonstrations, but can't boil a kettle.

Feb 10, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Re. Mike Jackson

In one other way Hirohito was something of an Englishman as he always, or so I have read, started the day with a full English.

Feb 10, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Sydney

So why are the arts establishment so right on lefty all the time?

As an ex-lefty...

I can think of a few reasons. You go to arts school and spend your time with people, many of whom are equally or more talented as yourself. You struggle for a while, but then you make it. You get comparatively wealthy compared to those you left behind and you get invited to all those talked about events that previously excluded you. Then you look back and see the colleagues you left behind, still struggling and still equally talented. How could you not think that your success is down to blind luck. How could you not imagine that the same blind chance pertains in every other endeavor. You think the result unjust and assume that a fairer system is possible. Hence you become a socialist.

I understand the life is unfair complaint. What I don't understand is how socialists look to the perfection of the socialist theory rather than the misery of socialist reality. It's not like Eisenstein couldn't have looked back to his peers and found himself no more talented.

Socialists in my experience, have a fundamental aversion to looking at their own history. The UK and the US have a history of dozens of little socialist experimental communes. New Harmony is a case relevant to this discussion. Everything was collectively owned and the fruits of labour shared. Strangely a lot of people wanted their work activity to be entertainers rather than as labourers. The experiment failed after two years. It wouldn't have survived for that long had not a rich man (Owen) funded the experiment. The labourers abandoned the experiment before the artists. Guess why?

Feb 10, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterTDK

What could posssibly be worse than "supported by Arts Council England - using tax payers funds."?

Try that worthy successor to the Venus of Bolsover, "Northumberlandia" brought to you by Matt Ridley !

Feb 11, 2015 at 1:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Do artists incur any VAT liability?

Feb 11, 2015 at 1:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterSlywolfe

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