In October 2013 an independently produced report titled Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital found that the UK government spent £20 per head on the arts in London versus £3.60 in the rest of the country.
In the same period the Department of Culture, Media and Sport handed over £450m to “major cultural institutions”. £49 per head of that money went to London. The rest of the country got £1 per head – despite the department describing the distribution of funds as “national”.
Peter Bazalgette – Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain was interviewed about this parlous imbalance on Radio 4’s Today programme. His answer will be familiar to anyone now used to our current government’s rhetoric. He said “Investment in London has a trickle down effect” and we ignore the capital’s big institutions “at our peril”.
A “trickle down” effect. It evokes a vision of the rest of the country sitting at its master’s feet like a dog, waiting for gravy drips from a plate.
And yet, somehow, we still manage to produce the UK’s best music, fashion and art here in what people from London call “the provinces”.
At FCK LDN we are tired of the perception that the rest of the country should be happy with London’s run off. We are angry that the rich products of our cultural industry are consistently missed by a spotlight trained on a single location that is home to a small fraction of our total population. Most of all, we are fed up with the media collaboration that perpetuates this cultural apartheid.
And because of this we are ready to say:
The media will not change to accommodate us because London is where it lives. The London based institutions that control arts funding will not change the proportion of money they grant to the rest of the UK, because – as is human nature – people take care of their friends first; the people they see at their parties and openings. The government does not care that the economic recovery they crow about so much is confined to an area that covers just 0.6% of the UK in square miles.
They are biased. And because they are biased, the only way to fight back is to be biased too.
That’s what FCK LDN is for.
FCK LDN is a new online magazine; a magazine that will do to London what every other magazine does to the rest of the UK.
It will pretend that it does not exist…
It will cover music, art, fashion and culture everywhere in the UK, except London.
Join us. Discover what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.