The thinking involved, as it usually does, a lot of me imagining myself standing there delivering wise words and testing whether the words I had in mind sounded like they were possessed of any kind of wisdom at all. As usual I found myself pleasantly surprised at finding I seemed to have a few useful ideas and unpleasantly perturbed at how few these ideas actually were. It's a very illuminating way of discovering how much one doesn't actually know - very much in the spirit of Theory of Knowledge, I think. I also did a bit of reading, well generally re-reading, in fact. Aided and abetted by John Carey's What Good Are The Arts?, Alain de Botton's The Art of Travel, Raymond Williams's Culture and Society and most of the essays in The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics I am now armed to convince some unfortunate young people that it's all a lot more complicated than it looks - and it looks pretty complicated anyway.
There is one fairly simple point that abides with me, though. The whole business of the democratisation of the arts is extremely healthy. There are those who'd call it dumbing down, I suppose, but the more people who do art, in whatever form, the better. It's a lot more intrinsically rewarding than doing drugs and renders the world, or the way we see it, more artful, which goes a step better than being no bad thing, attaining the giddy heights of being distinctly that rare beast: a good thing of itself.