Sunday, 15 November 2015

So what do we do?

I kept hearing horrifying stories from Paris today and then going online to see if there was more information available but not quite being able to look at what was there. It's genuinely difficult to know what to say. When people start being attacked for listening to music, watching football and sitting in cafes then I no longer understand the world. I certainly don't understand the ludicrous people who feel the need to make comments like "if you thought Paris was bad, imagine what it feels like to live on the West Bank." The Paris attacks were on the fringes of my world. The theatre massacre, for example, happened in a venue Fiona has played in three times. Some of the people shot were people she knows.

Stef from the band Placebo came to borrow my 'cello this morning and was telling me that the fans of the band who were playing in the theatre when the gunmen stormed in, were, in many cases, also fans of his band.

...And then you start to wonder what theatre they'd choose if the same thing happened in London? The Kentish Town forum? The National Theatre? The Shaftesbury, where Nathan works on the box office...?

I genuinely can't get my head around what has happened. Two thoughts are currently flying about in my brain: Firstly, that we have to carry on as usual. We must continue to make art. We must continue to go to the theatre. We have to or our industry will die. Frankly, if someone takes me out whilst I'm in a theatre, then so be it. I'll die doing the thing I've lived for.

The second thing which I've started to wonder is whether the Muslim community itself needs to stand up to be counted. It's no longer enough for religious leaders to simply send written messages which say "we condemn this." They need to march. They need to irradiate radical preaching so that young Muslim people don't think it's okay to do this sort of thing. I realise a lot of Muslim people are scared of their elders and scared of raising their heads above the parapet, but unless they do, we are lost. I'm somewhat sad to report that very few if any of my Muslim contacts on Facebook are displaying solidarity symbols on their profiles. And, of course, why should they? I'm not... But then again, there could well be hideous retaliations against Muslim people after Paris and I worry that if the Muslim community doesn't scream "not in our name" vociferously and angrily, then people will feel justified in their bigotry. But then, that's just one view, which comes out of a man with very little understanding of what the hell is going on in the world at the moment.

Speaking of bigotry, we watched Strictly Come Dancing tonight and were thrilled to see homophobe Jamelia in the bottom two for the fourth time running, which must be some sort of record. Of course there was a fabulous irony attached to her dancing to A Little Respect, not just because it's a song which was written by a gay man, but because Andy Bell, its writer, sang it at our wedding. Our gay wedding. One of the gay weddings that Jamelia doesn't approve of. I didn't see the dance of course. I spooled through it both times so have no idea if the woman can dance or not but she looked absolutely awful in her bright pink dress. Like someone who'd done a smash and grab in a charity shop.

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