Well I had one solid vote on the question of prizes and festivals and their intrinsic value, and that was a solid NO. Meaning a 100% dissatisfaction rating with the cultural circus as it stands. Arts Facilitators be warned!
Word has filtered back to me via a number of different channels that poets and writers are relieved at the recent decision to leave the publishing tariff in place. One industry insider cited the example of the Australian music industry and its success under differing forms of protection, although I was too polite to point out that the Musicians' Union relaxed those conditions years ago and that musos could teach your literate types a thing or two about kicking against the pricks. Other very successful bookshop owners cited the relief over copyright, as though they gave a tinker's cuss.
All I see is another example of the riches of our culture being kept out of reach of the young as they struggle too too long to find their feet in this increasingly top-heavy world, while the purveyors of that culture hold on to their priviliges and damn the consequences (oh, and pen the occassional piece for some daily rag bemoaning the sub-literacy of our youth).
To paraphrase my old song-writing mate, Bow Campbell, more of the same isn't the thing we were asking for.