THE FUNNY SIDE OF CLIMATE CHANGE – MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE
Climate change is funny. We’ve more than proved that this week at Hay. It’s not very funny but enough to keep people thinking and talking and laughing about it for an hour, anyway. With Steve Punt, Carrie Quinlan and Andre Vincent we bounced the topic between funny and serious for a while in a tent on the precarious edge of Wales and were challenged on the danger of hectoring…by a scientist no less. It’s OK, we shouted him down. Of course, if climate change were a naturally amusing subject more people would be talking about it and smiling. As it is, it’s all rather grim and troubling, but when UKIP candidates say, “This is all very well but what do we do when renewable energy runs out?” it is at least capable of raising a chuckle if only at the expense of the hard of thinking. I am sure that the urgency and seriousness with which climate scientists would like to see us act makes this subject a tricky one for the artistic community, who do not always respond well to being rushed or being asked to make their creations didactic.
Climate and art make for uncomfortable bedfellows – even for artists keen to engage with the subject. But they will share a bed, indeed they do already in more places than we might realise. Creations focused on connecting us to each other and reminding us of the duty of care we have for one another, and the resources we share, are being made all the time and some of them will be funny.
In a further note – It is rare for me to turn to jelly and froth… but David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame has been in the green room and frankly I am now mostly trifle. What are we to do about our heroes? Best not to meet them? Maybe. I’ve already bought all the music and been to the gigs and read the books and watched the films. I can’t tell you therefore why I needed to shake his hand and thank him, but I’m not sorry I did. That hand I shook has made most of the music I love the most. It doesn’t mean anything more that I held it in my hand but I liked it immensely and the next time my car is bursting with ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’ just a teeny bit more.