Friday, 24 March 2017

Je ne suis pas London

I sat in the Bandstand Cafe in Hove today listening into a conversation between two Dads. They had four children between them and were having exactly the sort of conversation I overhear amongst the yummy mummies of Highgate. It was very strange. Somewhat emasculating. They were talking about their children's physical and mental development in that "I'm pretending to listen, but actually I now just want to tell you how amazing my child is because you're making me feel inadequate" sort of way.

It's a little weird being in Brighton whilst my beloved home town comes to terms with what happened yesterday. Obviously I've been thinking a great deal about. I've been doing the thing I think we all do and imagining what would have happened if I'd been in Westminster witnessing those awful events. Would I have run away like a little frightened animal? Probably. If I'd have been carrying a pack of bacon from Tesco, would I have smeared it all over the attacker as he lay dying? I like to think so.

I found myself instinctively moving away from the edge of the road at one point. I realised I was waiting for a vehicle to mount the pavement. At that point it occurred to me that the most important thing Londoners can do is to try to put a little perspective on the event. The media is not exactly helping, with its insatiable appetite for dogma, hyperbole and generally emotional reporting. The fact is that it's been ten years since London was last attacked in this nature, and the loss of life on this occasion was relatively small. I don't feel the event merits an hysterical "Je Suis London" response. Dangerous drivers cause far more death and destruction on our motorways, and we haven't yet entered a moral panic about drink driving. Yes, it's terrible that a religious ideology exists that would think it okay to kill indiscriminately like this, but we're not going to change that fact by assuming the role of the victim. Actually, I tend to think that the more we collectively grieve, the more we play into the hands of IS, making it all the more likely that some other religious dick will do something similar in the near future. Until we recognise religion as a form of mental illness, people will continue to legitimise war. 

It was incredibly cold in Brighton this afternoon in a brutally surprising way! Great arctic winds blasted their way down the avenues, freezing everyone's skin to the bones and ruining the carefully quaffed bouffants of the good burgers of Brighton.

I walked from Hove to Brighton to meet Hilary, who'd hopped on a train from Lewes to have tea with me. We walked along the sea front and then ate in an Italian restaurant, chatting about vocal cords and the state of music education in both state and private education, which is usually where the conversation ends up when the two of us hook up! It was so lovely to see her although I ate way too much.

I have done a lot of work on Em today. I rather like being down here. My mind feels sharper. More focussed.

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