Rant & Rave (03/03/13)

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The Independent Online


When it's got so bad that nobody can afford a proper burger, let alone a bedsit in London, it's tempting to ask what is the point of supporting the arts? Arts Council England has a neat answer: "Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better." We need that more than ever right now, which is why it is so sad to see the BBC cutting its arts coverage by reducing The Review Show (fronted by Kirsty Wark) from weekly to monthly, and moving it from BBC2 to BBC4. Yes, the BBC needs to give us the news, relentless and depressing though it is, and it needs to provide entertainment such as EastEnders, miserable and draining though that is too. But saving costs by cutting arts coverage? Thanks, BBC, for making life that little bit worse.


Was there any straight woman or gay man who didn't love Ben Cohen just a little bit more last week, after he was wrongly "outed" by John Bercow? Cohen was a guest of ParliOut, Parliament's network for gay staff, because of his anti-homophobia charity the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. So, Mr Bercow introduced him as "openly gay". "Don't tell my wife!" laughed Cohen. Now that's how a real man deals with homophobia. Sports fans looking for real men and real women have also been following the rugby, in which last weekend a member of the Scotland men's team appeared to play most of the match with a freshly broken nose (can anyone imagine an international footballer doing that?), and the women's teams, as usual, did everything that the men do but while holding down full-time jobs.