The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Remember My Name …

So recently I saw that the movie, Fame was 38 years old.

While I didn’t see the film, the memory of the TV show is burned into my mind.

I remember seeing trailers for it on TV earlier that week and wanting to watch it … however when it aired, I was out with my friends playing football – it was summer – so when I finally walked into the house [via the back garden, as I’d gone to talk to my Mum and Dad who were enjoying the late evening sun] the show was half way through the episode.

But I was hooked from the beginning.

The idea of a school that taught creativity in a way that wasn’t stuffy was infectious to me.

Previous to that, I didn’t even know those things could exist but the fact there was a TV show about it, meant it must do. Somewhere.

To be honest, at that point in my life – 1982 – I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but it’s now obvious to me that part of the appeal of the show was because I wanted to go down that path, I just didn’t know it before then.

It might sound a bit of a leap, but the show might be one of the reasons I picked up the guitar about a year later and went on to spend a big chunk of my life between the ages of 17-24 making, earning and traveling because of music.

I always wonder if I’d have tried to get into a school of the arts if there had been one available in the UK at that time.

There were acting schools, but nothing like the one in Fame.

Of course, the school on Fame was fictitious, but the schools it was based on represented a very different feel and place of learning that the UK equivalent.

I personally think these schools are incredibly important.

At a time where education seems universally focused on academic subjects, the value of ‘the arts’ seems to have slipped down in importance.

I get why, but I can tell you, if Otis wanted to go to one when he is older – I’d be thrilled.

Sure, you could argue a degree in dance or music or acting is going to be harder to turn into a good income down the line, but apart from the fact you could say that about most degrees in general these days … the role of education is not just to better the individual, but for that individual to help better the country they live in.

It’s for this reason I’m so vehemently opposed to education-for-profit.

Not just because it has resulted in universities lowering their qualification standards to increase admission, but because a highly educated population adds huge commercial value to a country.

Smart people do smart things.

Whether that is creating things or attracting things, a highly educated workforce creates more opportunities for others … be that people, communities, companies or countries … and it’s for this reason I passionately believe governments should keep standards insanely high but the cost of insanely low.

But sadly few look at it that way – preferring to take the money rather than make the investment – resulting in too many people going to university in the hope of getting a great future but finding out they got sold a great lie.

Education is an amazing thing – regardless what you study – but with degrees fast becoming worth less than the paper they’re written on, I hope if Otis does choose to advance his education, he follows the path that leads him to emotional fulfillment.

I don’t care what that is … art, music, accountancy or tech … but for me the key is he does it for his happiness, not purely for his career because in a World where everyone seems to do stuff to get ahead, there’s something amazing in following a path for the sheer joy that you enjoy it and that’s something I would love for him to do.

As my parents taught me, at the end of the day, feeling fulfilled is more important than simply being content.

Wow, this is quite a leap from a 1982 TV show about kids dancing in the streets of NY isn’t it.


19 Comments

A post 38 years in the making.

Have you just hit peak Campbell?

Comment by DH

you mean bottom of the fucking barrel campbell. and you should know just when you think the fucker cant get any lower he gets lower.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sadly I agree with Andy.

But appreciate the back-handed compliment Dave.

Comment by Rob

Now I think about it, Fame was an education. When the actors were on the show they were superstars. When the show ended they went to that giant dustbin in the actors green room.

Comment by DH

If I move past the Fame references, this is quite a good thought provoking read. 2 days in a row. Who are you?

Comment by DH

someone must be writing them for him. maybe the tight fuck threw some $ at those ghost writing dicks he wrote about. only explanation.

Comment by andy@cynic

Is it that obvious?

Comment by Rob

I like the new you in these posts Robert. The company writing them for you are worth every penny.

Comment by Lee Hill

when lee takes the piss you know youre fucked campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

If only you’d seen the real message of the show.

Ah well, interpretive dance’s loss was Terence Trent D’Arby’s g

Comment by John

As for keeping the standards insanely high while keeping the costs insanely low, I don’t disagree but it’s interesting to see you advocating the subsidisation of elites.

Comment by John

Isn’t Rob advocating educational subsidisation of everyone rather than just elites?

Comment by Pete

Maybe so, but I’d argue that it’s not financially viable and I’m not even sure it’s practically possible when it comes to education standards as there’s a trade-off between standards and participation.

That’s why I’d always advocate pouring money into insanely high standards for everyone at primary school level in the belief that learning to learn will lead to self-motivated learning thereafter.

Comment by John

I’m absolutely not advocating helping the wealthy at the expense of others … that’s what’s happening now to a certain extent. I’m saying governments should invest in the highest quality education they can for everybody they can … and when some can go on to further education, they are also supported in that quest. Not based on money, not even based on educational achievement [though obviously that would be a big part of it] but potential … potential as an individual and potential to help those around them.

Maybe it’s pie in the sky, but it’s not like the current model is working as it should with people coming out of education with debt, less opportunities and a nation struggling to find it’s role in the World.

Comment by Rob

I meant the academic elite but given that private education exists, the financial and the academic elite have quite an overlap.

And yes, the present system is broken. In the UK it’s down to the idiocy of thinking you improve standards by making more people graduates without doing anything about quality of education. And you wonder why I hate branding?

Comment by John

Really interesting post Rob. Your point about an educated population makes a profitable nation is great and something governments seem to have forgotten.

Comment by Pete

I’d pay to see you in a leotard and leg-warmers.

Comment by Bazza

Then again….

Comment by Bazza

I went to an academy of arts like the one in fame (and yes, random performances, dancing and general silliness would break out in the canteen too). Music, Performance, Theatre and Art. It was good. I still catch myself using skills that I was taught there. A seed was planted there and everything I’ve done since originated from my time there. I’m grateful for it.

The school, Dartington College of Arts, was closed down due to lack of money, imagination and politics. It is sorely missed.

Comment by Marcus




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