Tag Archives: Sean O’Hagan

Britain’s popular culture goes posh – can social stop the rot?

Working class hero
Apparently, our popular culture is in danger of gentrification.

The most shocking stat in Sean O’Hagan’s recent article, A working class hero is something to be…but not in Britain’s posh culture, was that 60% of current successful rock and pop acts were former public school pupils, compared with just 1% 20 years ago.

The article goes on to state that the paths taken by the many British cultural icons with working class roots – like Julie Walters, Tracey Emin, Dizzee Rascal or Alexander McQueen – simply aren’t available today.

The introduction of university fees, the end of grammar schools and prohibitive inner city rents means it’s tougher than ever for bright children from poorer families to find opportunities to work and develop alongside like-minded people.

Can social media to anything to help level the playing field? Of course, I’m an evangelist, so I’d like to think so. Lauren Luke and Jamal Edwards are just two examples of working class kids who’ve found fame and fortune through talent, hard work and YouTube.

But nothing’s going to happen until they start teaching social media properly in schools, and by the look of things that’s a long way off.

Photo: Dominic Campbell