David Byrne Pens Editorial on How the 1 Percent Is Squeezing the Creativity out of New York

David Byrne Pens Editorial on How the 1 Percent Is Squeezing the Creativity out of New York
Talking Heads founder and frequent St. Vincent collaborator David Byrne has been known to put the guitar down from time to time and write some pretty thought-provoking and life-changing pieces. Now the artist has done it again, this time in the form of an editorial posted by Creative Time/the Guardian in which he blames New York's 1 percent for crushing the city's creativity.

In the article posted this morning (October 7), Byrne waxes poetic about the cultural changes that have happened to the American metropolis since moving there in the 1970s, laying most of the blame on the worldwide financial collapse caused by many of the city's hedge funds and financial institutions for luring "the best and brightest" away from the world of creativity.

"As in many other countries, the lure of easy bucks hoovered this talent and intelligence up — and made it difficult for those other kinds of businesses to attract any of the top talent," he writes. "This city doesn't make things anymore. Creativity, of all kinds, is the resource we have to draw on as a city and a country in order to survive."

But Byrne says that's not enough for creative types like himself — and young creative people — adding that it may make sense to move away if the city continues down the path it's going.

"Some folks believe that hardship breeds artistic creativity," Byrne writes. "I don't buy it. One can put up with poverty for a while when one is young, but it will inevitably wear a person down. I don't romanticize the bad old days."

And although Byrne's column is based on the rampant greed in the city he's come to know and love, the same could be said about a number of Canadian cities, after news today that 500,000 Canadian post-secondary grads will be working in low-skilled jobs by 2016.

Still, if things get really bad, the new wave singer can rest easily knowing he's always welcome in his childhood home of Hamilton, ON, which just so happens to be having a cultural renaissance of its own right now.

Read Byrne's full article here.