If You Don’t Think The Turner Prize Is Shite You’re Talking Bollocks

Amid claims that class distinctions are what define British Society, an intriguing theory was put forward at the weekend. In view of the fact most of us are not in the class we think we are because we have no idea what makes anybody working class or middle class anymore, one writer thought our individual opinion of The Turner Prize contenders would reveal our true class.
If we think the shortlisted entries are witty, ironic and thought provoking, the theory goes, then we are middle class. If on the other hand we think the entries are shite (literally sometimes) we are working class.
This does not work for me and Daily Mail Readers will be up in arms. But if we leave the gutter press out of it and look through a critic’s eye at two leading entries, it becomes clear that though the theory might be onto something, its conclusions must be re-evaluated.

Two of the top contenders this year are a 150 minute video of a man walking around a big, empty room while dressed in a dodgy bear suit and another big empty room with a plank on the floor.

Now the bloke in the bear suit could be a witty and ironic post-modern statement about how modern man, detached by the social structures of the post-industrial world and divorced from the shamanic origins of his spirituality feels alone and alien in a life he no longer has control over.

Or it could simply state that the fancy dress hire shop had run out of pirate, Superman and gorilla suits.

A third, even more ironically radical possibility is that the installation reminds us the linear nature of time is a human delusion, the bear has entered 2007 through a timewarp and is looking for a can of Hofmeister.

The plank is even more fascinating, its title, threshold suggests we may see it as a boundary we cross at our peril, a threshold we must cross in order to achieve a higher state of being or as the symbolic doorstep we trip over as we look around the installation for some nice impressionist landscapes.

These works then show us that the discerning eye sees modern art not as painting and sculpture, works which use line, texture and form interacting with light to communicate ideas, but as ideas themselves. It is not the bear suit or the plank that express the idea but the artist’s ability to talk bollocks about it in order to get money.

So the case is resolved. Our attitude to The Turner Prize does indicate our class status, if you think this stuff is shite then you are clearly middle class but if you appreciate the art of talking bollocks to get money then you are working class. Talking bollocks to get money is a skill the working class perfected twenty years ago, after Thatcher’s government abolished proper jobs.