When All Is Said and Done!

Musician and Guinness World Record Flautist

When All Is Said and Done!

Does the world frighten you? At times it absolutely terrifies me, and probably not for the reasons you think.  I could be profound and talk about what is going on in the world; climate change, world conflicts, Covid. But no, for me it is much simpler, and yet in some ways more difficult to deal with. 

As I near my 50th year I have become more and more conscious of what is being lost. What I am losing. People, a way of life, my support mechanism, my elders.  I am generally an optimistic person.  Cup half full, although I was talking with my elder brother last week and our conversation strayed to our outlook on life.  He quite rightly pointed out that no one is only cup half full.  There has to be some times of doubt, questioning and lack of faith/optimism. 

My husband once, jokingly (well, I think he was joking) banned me from playing Coldplay in the car, because the music was so downbeat and ‘depressing’.  I love ‘depressing music’ but am rarely depressed by it.  I can listen to the Mozart or Faure Requiems on repeat.  You can’t get anything  more depressing than a death mass, surely? Almost all the classical music I listen to is by composers who are long gone.  Rachmaninov is my absolute favourite.   His 2nd Symphony is sublime, and the ‘Isle of the Dead’ is an amazing piece of descriptive music.

And yet, I am sitting at home, listening to a Tony Christie album with tears in my eyes.  I love Tony Christie.  He has a voice as velvety as chocolate.  He is amazing live.  My daughter adores him and even made a little banner with ‘I love you Tony Christie’ on it when we saw him live in June 2021 (our first live gig/show since the beginning of the pandemic).  He was amazing!! So why am I feeling so low?

I close my eyes and listen to ‘When Will I Ever Love Again’, ‘Turn Around’, ‘Smile a Little Smile For Me’ and hear that silky voice, and I’m transfixed. I love that voice, and it will always be there. I can listen to him anytime.  But as I have got older I have become more conscious that the man behind that voice can’t last forever, and there will come a time when he is no longer there and my daughter won’t be able to hold up her little banner for him.  That really bothers me, and it encapsulates my fears.

The world that I was born into no longer exits.  I don’t see myself as old, and yet the way of life I crave for is confined to the past.  I am not adverse to change. Progress can be a positive.  I have embraced technology in its various forms. BUT at what price?

The saying is ‘It takes a village to bring up a child’.  I am afraid that we are losing that sense of community in so many places.  As opinions become more polarised, and there is increasingly a sense of ‘if you don’t agree with me you are just wrong’ rather than a dialogue, that sense of community is becoming less and less.  People are shunned or scared of putting themselves in a position where they may be ‘wrong’ for voicing their thoughts.  I miss that community spirit. Where you would walk along the street and know the people you met, and you would pass the time of day and not feel pressured or bullied. Where the older generation were always looking out for the younger ones, and yes, you didn’t always take the advice that was VERY freely given, but it was there, and no one was criticised for giving the advice or demonised for not taking it.

I know that I could well be accused of looking at the world through rose tinted glasses, and I won’t deny that.

We now have more TV channels that you could ever watch. There is YouTube and various other media platforms to watch stuff.  And at some point TV became grim! The occasional gritty drama gave way to darkness (and that includes filmed in the dark too).  Even Star Trek succumbed! The Original Series covered important topics like inequality, racism, sexism but it didn’t mean that the sets had to be badly lit and everyone had to wear drab colours or lecture you as regards to what you should be doing, feeling and thinking. Real life is grim enough.  I want escapisim; to be transported to another place and to be able to forget my troubles for an hour or two.

And that brings me back to Tony Christie, who is a lovely, kind, genuine family man, and who has a lovely family who were wonderful with Bethany when she met him a few years ago.  I saw on Facebook an interview that he had done as part of the promotion of his autobiography in 2019.  It should have been a lovely interview, talking about his book, asking him about his life and plans for the future.  Instead he was grilled about the video for Amarillo, which he would have had no say in, and whether it was right that a certain disgraced children’s TV entertainer was still in the video.  He was bullied and pressured on live TV because it was more gritty and it fitted an agenda and I felt appalled, sickened and embarrassed that he was put in that position.  What an awful thing to do to a person, who very much didn’t deserve it! Is that what we have become?

That wonderful voice also reminds me of a bygone age, when melody was key.  I don’t think it is an accident that even the youngest children know Abba and a lot of other artists and songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.  There was a melody to hum, sing along with and connect with.  We seem to have lost that in a lot of modern pop music.  It is a fact that the tonal range of the average pop song has continued to shrink over the past 40 years, and yet the songs with the strongest melodies are still remembered from earlier decades and are considered classics. What was the classic song of 2020? Is this progress?

And so I go back to listening to my Tony Christie album and the next track seems so appropriate ‘When All Is Said And Done’.  Because ‘the lesson we have learnt’ and ‘the only thing that matters’ is love – love for our fellow man, love for our world, love within our community and respect for everyone, because it is love that makes the world go round and perhaps if there was a greater sense of ‘love’ in the world it would be a less frightening place for everyone.

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