Feel The Love
There was no blog last week due to our holiday in the wonderful Isle of Wight. I miss it already.
This week’s blog has been very difficult to write. I am, by nature, a ‘cup half full’ person, as apposed to half empty, but there have been a number of things over the past few weeks that have had a big impact on me.
While we were away on holiday two wonderful people I know passed away. One of those people was one of my best friends in the 1990’s. We lost touch for a while, but when we did bump into each other it was like old times. She was only a year older than me and so full of life. She packed more into her time on earth than I think I could in 3 lifetimes. She had travelled all over the world, was incredibly fit and was so full of energy and vitality if you could bottle it you would be a millionaire overnight, and yet she is gone.
Yesterday I spent most of the day dressed in a World War II uniform. It was the open day at my local church, St Peter’s Church Galley Common. The church itself is unique, being the only Arts and Crafts church of its type in the country. The theme of our open day was the 2nd World War as one of the previous vicars had been an ARP Warden, and there is an ARP shelter within the grounds of the church. The church and hall played an active role during the hostilities, and so yesterday afternoon I was singing a variety of songs from the 30’s and 40’s as part of an afternoon ‘Tea Dance’, with favourites such as ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ and ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’.
And then tonight I watched the Antiques Roadshow on BBC1. It’s not a show I get to watch very often but used to be a firm favourite when I was younger. I didn’t realise that tonight’s edition was a special until we switched it on. It was all about the commemoration of the 2nd World War, and there were artefacts from all sorts of people documenting so many lives. And then the last selection of items were shown. It was a selection of items relating to a little girl who was being evacuated to Canada. An only child, she was being sent to Canada by boat and the paperwork stipulated what she was to take with her, when she would be leaving and instructions for the parents to follow. But only days after she had left the parents received word that the ship their daughter was on had been torpedoed, and she had died. Not long after this devastating news the parents received a postcard from the little girl that she had sent before setting sail, talking about how she had made friends and not to worry about her. To say I was heartbroken at this point is an understatement. All of these events happened nearly 80 years ago, but the pain of the loss of that child was so very real, as if she were my own daughter.
We are living in very difficult times. There is a lot of aggression in the world from politicians, people in the media, people on Facebook and Twitter. Intolerance is prevalent. For a growing number of people, it seems, having a discussion from two opposing viewpoints is no longer desirable. If you do not agree with a person’s viewpoint you are just wrong.
BUT “Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.” -Sarah Dessen, writer
Music is an incredibly powerful force for good. It brings people together. During those difficult days of World War II music was there, on the radio and performed live, to unite the people behind a common cause, to bring relief during those dark days, to cheer you and to lament for those who were lost. Many of those old songs are still known today, not just by the older generations, but by the young ones too – ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’. Youngsters still love watching ‘Dad’s Army’. It is still being shown on a Saturday night at a prime time on BBC2 because it has never lost its appeal. Not because of the conflict, the fighting, the war but because of the camaraderie and sense of community spirit it evokes. The Theme tune is known by young and old alike.
When you lose someone special to you music often plays an important role. It may be that you listen to ‘your’ song. It could be that you listen through some of that person’s music to select that special track you would like played. You might sit and talk through old memories together about the person you have lost. Talking is so important.
Next week myself, my 6yr old daughter and a friend are heading down to London to see The Last Night of The Proms in Hyde Park and the Radio 2 Festival in a Day. Two events that perfectly optimise the strength of music. Bringing people from all walks of life and background together for one purpose – listening to great music.
So next time you start to feel that sense of intolerance creeping over you, ask the question, what’s your favourite artist? Or, what’s your favourite type of music? Or, what do you think of the new album by whoever? Start the dialogue. Let the music bring you together. We are stronger together. And, I might sound like an old hippy here, but …. feel the love.