There’s no business like show

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As Irving Berlin said in his song “there’s no business like show business”. Apart from the world of politics, I wonder if there is any other area of human endeavour that attracts folk with as much neediness for attention.

Earlier in my career I wasn’t so clear in my mind about the dividing line between show business and “the arts”. It’s been a long journey of trial and error, trying to find my way, but I think I understand now. Sometimes I am tempted to dip a toe into showbiz waters, but I only do that when I’m feeling vulnerable. Once I venture into spaces of that sort, I know immediately where I don’t belong.

What is it that makes show business tick?  Why was it invented? Looking back into history, it seems that show business was invented to provide distraction and diversion from “real life” concerns for urban workers, especially during and after the industrial revolution. Distraction does have a place in human existence, but it isn’t always the healthiest option available for the stimulation of people’s minds.

I guess the rewards of a successful showbiz career, as displayed by TV and tabloid celebrities on a regular basis can bring out those feelings of vulnerability in those of us who feel we should be paid more for our skills, talents and creativity. Does the solution to this issue lie in refusing to engage with distractive pursuits?

The thing is, show business sometimes presents and promotes high quality artefacts. Do we all need “chewing gum for the mind” (quoted from Terry Wogan) sometimes? This is a matter that I still need to make up my mind about