Robyn Archer on people who don’t listen to music

Regular readers will know by now that we’ve been profile Robyn Archer AO, who’s on the Gold Coast regularly as part of her role as Cultural Adviser to the city. We spoke to Robyn about her music and performance career, her various Festival Director roles, and also how she came to be working on the Gold Coast.

During our conversation, we spoke about the impact that music has on Robyn’s mother, who suffers with dementia. So I asked Robyn about people who say they don’t listen to music and what might be going on with them.

“It’s a big platform of mine to say even if you don’t think that you listen to music… you’re listening to it all day, all the time,” Robyn said. “Go to any retail store, turn on your tele, anything.”

“There will be literally millions of people who say I’ve got nothing to do with the arts, yet if you said to them OK, no music, see how you go?”

“Of course you CAN do without it… but does anyone want to? Is 21st century life tolerable, even for people who say they don’t listen to music?”

“It goes into their ears but they never think: there must have been a composer, there must have been a musician. There must have been recording engineers for me to be hearing that. It is so taken for granted.”

“I think we could have a cultural revolution if we were able to persuade everybody of that. Because life would be almost intolerable in my opinion.

“Music, imagery which appears on our computers, TV screens, posters, I mean you can’t avoid having eye candy with visual arts – so it’s design, jewelry, clothing, everything.”

“If you took all that away, would 21st century life actually be tolerable?” Robyn asks, before she answers with a definitive no. She says she thinks life would be utterly grim.

“If by some miracle virus, if everything did disappear, it wouldn’t be long before someone started singing, someone would draw, it would all come back.”

“So if one could get acceptance of that concept, then I believe that all artists would be considered to be essential services in the same way as nurses, doctors and garbage collectors are.

“If you can’t do without it, it’s an essential service, but it’s not respected like that.”

“People look at it as the frill on the frock of life but I consider it to be the fabric – the very fabric of which the frock is woven.”

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Robyn Archer AO will close 2970: The Boiling Point which runs July 26 – 28 here on the Gold Coast.

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