Monday, 16 January 2017

Who put the great in Great Britain?

I can't sleep. I'm sitting in the living room looking out across a misty London, wondering if I should acknowledge that I'm not going to sleep, and head up into the loft to write some music, or whether, after finishing this blog, I should try to go back to bed. I did actually manage to fall asleep at a decent hour, but Nathan dropped the alarm clock, and it made such a clatter that I instantly woke up, and then immediately started worrying about money. So that was that...

I switched the Antiques Roadshow on this evening. It was, without question, one of the most moving television programmes I've seen for a long while. I'm not sure why the show was allowed to deviate so spectacularly from its usual format, but I'm pleased it did. The programme was a celebration of Holocaust Memorial Day and all the objects brought in were related to concentration camps and Kinder Transport. I suspect very few of the items had a great deal of actual financial value, so I was rather pleased that the BBC decided not to underplay their importance by valuing them. After all, who can put financial value on a story which simply has to be heard? All of the stories associated with the treasures were utterly heartbreaking and deeply compelling.

You know, I feel very proud to be British when I think about what this nation did to combat fascism. The scores of Jewish refugees we welcomed into this country during, and immediately after the war, were but a tiny part of the overall story. I can't help but think Brexit has potentially thrown all that pride away. I never thought I'd live to see a day when Brits started shirking their responsibilities as human beings, blithely turning their backs on 21st Century refugees in need. There's been so much ghastly talk recently about turning the clocks back to the "time when Britain was great", but, in my view, the last time this country was truly great was during the war, and then immediately afterwards when the Labour government provided us with the Welfare State. (You could probably argue that there was a secondary moment of greatness at the end of the 60s when another Labour government brought in a succession of human rights bills including the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the abolition of the death penalty and a change in abortion and adoption procedures...)

Anyway, it seems to me that the things which made Britain great are the very things that the dreadful Tories are currently throwing back in our faces.

It's been a quiet day and I've spent most of it inside, suffering a degree of cabin fever. I haven't been to the gym. I haven't experienced any fresh air. I ended up having to drag Nathan out for an evening walk around the block just to combat the fact that I was feeling so deeply claustrophobic. We went down to the Sainsbury's Local on Archway Road to buy soup and vegetables and ended up having to use a cardboard box because they'd run out of shopping baskets. It felt a bit weird, like we were in some sort of health food collective in the late 1970s. All that was missing was an overwhelming smell of vitamin B12 and an assortment of staff members with varying degrees of special needs.

I've been working a little on a song from Em called "The Cavern." It's the only thing I've got to show for an otherwise very lazy day. I have a target of finishing a song a week in first draft form over the next few months. I want everything down on paper as soon as possible, so I know the nature of the beast, and I've got a framework to slowly chip away at.

Right. I'm going to give bed a chance...

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