For the avoidance of workplace contamination by culture

Well, we’ve all been rather quiet on this site for an embarrassingly long while. But the currently embattled state of the arts in the UK in the face of painfully evident government indifference makes it a very relevant time to share this previously unpublished Score, first performed by OTE members as an intervention at a starchy Aberdeen conference in 2014 in response to what we then thought was only a locally prevailing hostility to culture having any serious place in our lives or – heaven forfend! – careers. And those origins make this blog the most relevant place to share it. Perhaps more will follow, who knows? My appreciation goes to Steve Ansell and Arathi Suresh whose #Fatimadances at Stage@Leeds prompted me to remember this. Meanwhile, please follow these instructions precisely to lead a pure, productive, government approved professional existence.

Overheard in a cultural strategy planning meeting in Aberdeen, 2014:

“Culture is what you do in the evening after work…”

Rearticulated by the UK government, 2019:

“Fatima’s next job could be in cyber…”

SCORE:  For the avoidance of workplace contamination by culture

Art is strictly for the after hours

so snap off that radio for starters

unplug the distraction of music at breakfast

evict any lingering earworms with cotton buds

drive safe

drive safe and silent

do not hum or tap the wheel

do not drive and drum

gaze directly ahead

do not allow adverts or images

film posters, slogans, roadside graffiti

or even rude shapes drawn in filth on white vans

to remotely pervade your senses

avoid major routes with sculptures on roundabouts

squint to exclude any floral displays

park out of sight of places of worship

when you pass news stands

avert your gaze

once in the workplace be quick to dismantle

extraneous architectural features

employ, if necessary, colleagues for muscle

but by no means allow them

when working to whistle

take extra care with printed matter

if obliged to encounter reports or letters

ensure they are assembled by illiterates

and skip over borderline creative effects

such as rhythm, or layout, or meaning

outlaw the internet or in will pour

images, words, sound, video

hard to filter effectively, so

suggest simply ban it

that’s best

use the time saved to unpick each stitch

of designer suits or dresses

scour your desk for symbolic material

ditch any photos or keepsakes

refuse to do work that inspires or uplifts

indulge no feeling or sentiment

ideally, manage out the need to think

keep learning down to a minimum

managers, note: do not retain staff

known to indulge in dancing

they are disrespectful of rational control

they are thought to be unpredictable

follow this score to the end of the day

at the end of the day, go home

go to the bathroom

go to the mirror

and look

take a hard look

repeat five times weekly until dead



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