In the course of my duties as a occasional and strictly-when-I-feel-like-it culture blogger, I watched, with a view to commenting on, a short profile that was shown on BBC2 TV last Monday night about the great conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim, a musician I’ve admired and enjoyed the recordings of ever since I first heard him in the nineteen sixties. The show only lasted half an hour and there wasn’t time for much to be said, but one very interesting thing was said, by conductor/composer Pierre Boulez, who, perhaps somewhat surprisingly (trad classical musician versus enfant terrible avant guardist, etc.), is a close friend of Barenboim’s, as well as a musical collaborator from way back.
Boulez pointed out that Barenboim is unusual in being a musician whose repertoire and general interest in the world and its affairs have both broadened over the years rather than narrowed. And it’s true. The typical top-flight classical music career starts in a blaze of somewhat indiscriminate fireworks and political pontifications, and then as age sets in our wunderkind becomes a not quite so wunder-mensch, cuts out the political posturing and the extraneous repertoire, and homes in on a gradually diminishing core of favourite pieces, and then disintegrates and dies.
Barenboim is doing the opposite. He started out as your typical sheltered prodigy who loved the great classics of classical music to distraction, and ignored just about everything else. But his repertoire has never stopped expanding, and simply as a result of being an A-list classical musician, and especially in his capacity as boss of one of the Berlin opera houses in the years since unification, he has found himself reflecting, if not quite on the wider world as such then most certainly on the place of classical music within that wider world. (You don’t conduct the first Wagner ever played in public in the state of Israel without thinking about that very carefully!)
To this end, he writes. Go to his website (see the link above) and you’ll see what I mean.
Barenboim is not an actual blogger. He is no daily diarist. Nevertheless, his writings are referred to at his website as a “journal”, and had this site been set up only a few years later, it might have included a bona fide blog. After all, these classical musicians are having to sing for their suppers, to fight for their arts council grants and their permanent recording contracts, and they know it. (And if your appetite for supper is anything like Barenboim’s, you really have to sing, let me tell you. Old style opera in the newly wilting German economy. That’s one hell of a sell.)
So, Barenboim writes. My question is: are any genuine Barenboim-level celebs actually finding the time to blog, in approximately the kind of way that we guys do?
I rule out writers, because that is not enough of a sideshow to really be a sideshow. But how about sportsmen? Do any movie stars blog? Perry mentions film producer/occasional blogger Brian Linse here from time to time, and he could become very famous if things go well for him. But, unsurprisingly, Linse seems like he’s too busy to put frequent postings on his blog. Either that, or he just can’t match that Barenboim level of energy. (Few can, let me tell you. That’s no big criticism.)
I’m guessing that some pop stars blog. But are they any good? Also, I tend to discount them because, if they write lyrics, that sort of makes them writers too.
But that’s my question. Who is the most famous blogger? Not famous for blogging, but who happens to blog about the life that does make him or her famous. Anyone?