An article in yesterdays Sunday Times pointed out the growing number of chart stars who were educated privately. The article referenced a recent survey published in Word magazine which suggested 60% of acts in the chart this October were former public school pupils compared with just 1% in the same October week in 1990.
The article suggested various reasons for the growing trend include the disparity in funding for music and the arts in general between private schools and state schools, and also the fact that middle class parents are more likely to have the disposable income to provide the necessary equipment for forming a band such as expensive amplifiers, guitars and extra space for rehearsals.
The major culprits for this growing trend seem to stem from the new folk movement with Laura Marling and her various spouses of Marc Mumford and Noah and the Whale’s Charlie Fink all attending fee paying schools. Other notable public school alumni to achieve chart success of late include Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, Jack Penate and all the members of Foals.
But does it really matter where a band went to school? Maybe Mumford and Son’s greatest faux pas is making criminally dull music and not attending posh schools. It’s not as if it’s an entirely new thing to have members of successful rock bands coming from privileged backgrounds either. Members of bands as far apart as Pink Floyd and The Strokes all went to fee paying schools.
The 90’s was largely characterised by a slew of bands from working class backgrounds making it big including Oasis, Pulp, Manic Street Preachers and Prodigy. Maybe the growing number of bands educated privately is indicative of the growing middle classes and the dissipation of class resentments in Britain today.
Whilst I have nothing against people from public schools forming bands per se; it’s hard to imagine that the latest crop of posh pop stars have the same fire in their belly and determination as their 90’s working class counterparts.
Whilst Jarvis Cocker’s career options seemed to be a choice between forming a band or spending the rest of his life selling fish in Sheffield market, you get the feeling that for Florence Welch it was probably a toss-up between going into her dads advertising business or inflicting her sub standard Kate Bush shtick on the rest of us poor unsuspecting souls. Not quite the same make or break decision don’t you think?
So what do you think? Does it matter where a band went to school or what their social background is? Vote now!