Category Archives: public taste

Suppression of rock music in public places

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 07.55.25Such a step, writes Dalrymple,

while very tempting, is not the solution. What is required is the elevation of public taste.

This, he says, with characteristic understatement,

might take some time.

When Dalrymple suggested that the prison where he works

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 07.47.07should echo to the sound of Gregorian chant,

the prison officers

thought it was a joke.

Rock music, Dalrymple points out,

exerts a brutalising effect, and if it is not the sole cause of many of the unpleasantnesses of modern life, it aggravates them.

It has become

insidiously pervasive in our urban environment. It is like a poisonous gas that a malign authority pumps into our atmosphere, whose doleful effect, and probably purpose, is to destroy our capacity to converse, to concentrate, to reflect. It agitates us, keeps us constantly on the move, makes us impulsive and lacking in judgement.

Sadly, resistance has been feeble.

Defenders and advocates of high culture have been diffident about their claims, and reluctant to resist the relentless advance of a debased popular culture.

Dalrymple, honorary president of the Society for the Suppression of Rock Music, is pessimistic, saying that despite the best of intentions, the society will have

the same practical effect as the Society for the Suppression of Vice, namely nil.

Children’s tastes should be educated and not indulged

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 22.40.33The postage stamps on a couple of letters Dalrymple receives cause him ask whether the French posts are

merely reacting to, or creating, public taste.

He finds the message of the stamps

bureaucratically condescending and infantilising.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 22.40.49The stamps’ crudity of design and colouration

is part of a general trend to the use of such designs and primary colours. One has only to think of McDonald’s restaurants or the logo of Toys ‘R’ Us.

Children’s toys

E.H. Shepard

E.H. Shepard’s rendering

are now largely of plastic in the brightest reds, blues, greens and yellows. Public playgrounds have slides and climbing frames in the same colours.

The iconography of Winnie-the-Pooh

has changed from the subtle and tender drawings of Ernest Shepard to the crude and highly coloured Disney drawings.


are attracted naturally by bright colours, of course. That is why their tastes should be educated and not just indulged, or we will end up with a world of Bonnes vacances.


The Disney version

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 23.06.24Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 23.09.22