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Critical clowns

High culture, and the serious critics who support and explain it, have gradually become marginalised in the mass media. Critical clowns have stormed the citadel of Shaw, Tynan and Porter

By Michael Coveney   November 2005

When I was a tyro drama critic on the Financial Times 30 years ago, the newspaper’s chairman, Lord Drogheda, threw a party each Christmas in his London home in Lord North Street. He would introduce me to some bigwig or other with the same line every year, “This is young Coveney who writes about the sort of plays nobody wants to go and see.” Why did he say this? Because I had been employed by his arts editor, the drama critic BA Young, to cover the burgeoning fringe theatre that had sprouted in the wake of the cultural explosion at…

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