Editor’s Note: The following rap was composed on the 28th and 29th April 2000 and performed thereafter for the final session of the Double Dialogues “Culture War” conference held in the Victorian Trades Hall, Melbourne. Amongst the more local references are those to the Pratts, conservative arts philanthropists (especially of light operetta) with extensive manufacturing interests, and the Victorian Symphony Orchestra (“vso”) [Verse 1]; to the “logies,” awards hosted by commercial television interests usually at the Casino, and the Packers, media magnates (and rivals of the Murdochs) with extensive gambling interests including the Casino, as well as Rachel Griffiths, a film actress and formerly a student of the School of Contemporary Arts at the now defunct Rusden State College, Melbourne [Verse 2]; to Killing Heidi, a heavily promoted rock’n’roll quartet on the Sony payroll, and the Docklands, the reclaimed industrial mouth of the Yarra River effectively extending the central business district of Melbourne [Verse 3]; and, to Daimaru, a modern Japanese department store since closed [Verse 4].

theres a current exhibition called the culture wars
theyre sellin tickets on the internet
theres a queue miles long around the block
its a block
n evrybodys there
theres folks in dinner suits n diamonds
sayin such a pity about richard n jeannie
its never been the same since we lost the vso
hordes of people wearin black
clutchin copies of realtime
theres pr people n high flyers
real a list stuff
evryone air kissing
lookin cool for the cameras
talkin about their latest project
bitchin about each other n the philistines who shafted the shard

last week when i was in berlin i …
keepin an eye out over their shoulder for someone really important
chattin to a mate on the mobile

n the mums n dads n kids
comin in from the suburbs for a day out
think thisll be good
we get to see
what this art business is all about

what they dont know is
the wars moved on

meanwhile at the casino
theyve got the white light switched on
n the red carpet out again
its a logies situation
all the starlets in tight frocks
with corkscrew curls n anorexia
brought to you by the packers

while evrybody who ever was
n a few who never will be
pile out along the runway in
too tight
hire suits
tryin to look like hollywood

rachel griffiths is smiling now
while the movers n shakers
n the deal makers
havin done a line of coke in the limo
just to get them thru to party time
keep an eye out over their shoulder
for someone really important
cursin they put all the development money
into rainbow.com

n the mums n a few dads n the kids
teenage girls from the suburbs
are in there three deep
thinkin this is great
maybe some of the glamourll
wash off on me

n the queues gettin longer
but the war’s moved on

over at the fm station
theyre doin another giveaway
the 10th person to ring in gets
killing heidi to play at your party
n down at the docklands
2000 kids on ecstatsy n hope
are willing in the new dawn
we dont need

well sorry kids
the wars moved on

so here we are in trades hall
talkin about the culture wars
n how to defend art against
spillin our guts about the bad sex
of theory n practice
aint it sad
good to see a few of us have found a way to make it feel good

feelin a little overexposed
keepin an eye out over our shoulder for someone really important

n the mums n dads n kids
are in daimaru or down the road
at the chicks skateboard championship

they dont care
but thats ok
cos we do
were findin somethin out

in the meantime
the wars moved on

yes folks theres a war out there
hearts n minds n pockets stuff
while the leaders of our tight little island
wave the flags of the new/old empire
far away n right here in your living room
pretendin quite successfully
they dont know whats goin on
n what were payin to be in the bleachers
n not on the field

were the nasty teenage cheersquad
of politics on the whiteside
bullyin or whinin dependin on the score
while the big guns dont give a stuff
just as long as you buy the product

so get real

culture is what u do
art is how u do it
research is how u know what u know about it
bein a artist is who u need to agree to let u do it

this is the society of the spectacle
so u better work out which end up
yr eyes n heart n feet are
good luck

watch out
the rules just changed again
n the wars moved on
the wars moved on
the wars moved on