On Becoming a Culture Vulture
Happy Friday internet pals! Today I'm going to talk about something very close to my heart, and that something is art. A very general topic, I know, but bear with me here. As you all know (or at least, I hope you do), I'm a musician, and for a long time music was the only type of art that I was really interested in. Looking back, I used to be somewhat intimidated by theatre and visual art. I felt it was too "high brow" for me, that I wouldn't "get it" or that I didn't know enough or wasn't intelligent enough to appreciate it properly. So, understandably, I stuck to what I know. Now, however, things couldn't be more different.
So what happened? How did I go from disengaged and disinterested to a self-proclaimed culture vulture? The change began when, during my undergraduate degree, I started working in theatres and at festivals. This exposed me to all sorts of different art forms, and I realised that not only did I understand what was going on - I actually enjoyed it! It was a swift step from there to realising that the principles of analysis I was learning about at uni, and more generally the things that I appreciated about music could be applied to other art forms too.
This realisation awakened my curiosity, and now I go to anything and everything that I can, and absorb myself in as much art as possible. It opened my mind and allowed me to connect with people, and discover the stories of those that I would not otherwise have come across. I'm learning what I like and what I don't, breaking down my prior assumptions, and constantly being surprised by what our rich artistic scene has to offer.
Now I will put in a little disclaimer here: this isn't the cheapest hobby. I am lucky to still work in a theatre, which enables me to access a lot for free, and I appreciate that I wouldn't be able to see nearly as many plays/concerts if I didn't. I do, however, attend events outside of my workplace, and to do that I've learned to be discount-savvy. Many places offer discounts for students and young people, and there's a lot of free stuff going on. Some of my favourite Bristolian examples are the Victoria Rooms lunchtime concerts, the Art Gallery, and the many pubs and bars that host jazz nights.
So if you're looking to get involved in your local art scene, then my advice is just go for it! A quick google search is all you need to get an idea of where to start, and once the ball is rolling, well it just doesn't stop! I never thought I'd be the sort of person who voluntarily watches Shakespeare, or looks up local art galleries when I'm travelling, but look at me now! Exposing myself to different types of art enables me to gain a new perspective, and in turn be more creative with my own art. So go forth to the theatre, concert hall, gallery or library! What have you got to lose?