We always look forward to Fridays because the mornings are always full of social contact. First of all, our domestic help (a real treasure!) calls around and we always seem to have a lot of news to catch up on, as well as more hundrum domestic issues to discuss. So she arrived as per usual and I took pleasure in showing her the light stand upon which I have recently deployed my craft skills, such as they are, to attempt to make something out of nothing with only a few raw materials with which to work. Notwithstanding the views of friends and visitors, I am delighted that I now have a little desk light at exactly the right height to shine upon my Casio keybord. This morning, I was playing the ‘Barcarolle’ which is one of my favourites and also saw how much I could remember of the opening bars of ‘Wachet Auf’ as well as ‘Shenandoah’ The common theme behind all of these pieces is that they are relatively simple but evocative tunes, are not too difficult to remember (the ‘Barcarolle’, in particular, as many of the notes are adjacent to each other on a slowly rising scale) and can be played by the right hand alone. So we had a good chat before we took off to see our University of Birmingham friend with whom we had an assignation on our normal park bench at 11.00am. I had already prepared some coffee and comestibles and, whilst we were enjoying these, our friend hove into view. As we have got to know each other better and better, we had quite a long and deep discussion about the impact that our families had made upon us in our early years given that in each of our cases the relationships between our parents never seem to have run very smoothly. It remains a very interesting intellectual and practical question whether these early childhood experiences inevitably make an indelible mark upon us with consequences for our later life or whether, in practice, most people manage to survive these experiences and to lead happy and fulfilling social and professional lives. To this question we will no doubt return but I am personally of the view that the impact of early childhood experiences may be overplayed and the resilience of the human spirit is not to be underestimated. This is, of course, a highly contentious issue but at the end of the day our friend and Meg and I were in broad agreement with each other.
After we returned home, it was case of getting our fish pie into the oven and then enjoying a meal of a haddock dish pie, green beans and tomatoes baked in the oven. This was delicious when we finally came to consume it and then we settled down to enjoy a quiet afternoon. Before the athletics were due to be shown later on in the afternoon, I had a particular treat lined up for Meg and myself. Earlier in the week, I had noticed that BBC4 had put on a classic Joan Baez concert before an invited audience in the BBC studio sometime that I would judge to be the very early 1960’s – glancing at the hairstyles, clothing and demeanour of the audience, I would make a guess at 1962 and filmed in black and white as well. After some research, I was ‘out’ by three years because it was actually filmed at the BBC TV Theatre on June 6th, 1965. The concert was in two halves and gave Meg and myself the most enormous amount of pleasure. Joan Baez’s voice was of crystal clarity and the message was always unequivocally anti-establishment. One of the most pwerful ‘anti-war’ songs that it is is possible to hear is ‘With God on our Side’; which is actually a Bob Dylan song. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were actually ‘an item’ for one time and the song ‘Diamonds and Rust’ reflects upon the dissolution of their relationship. The lyrics of the song ‘With God on our Side’ goes through a variety of conflcts and wars and one of the most powerful verses is actually the second which runs ‘Oh, the history books tell it/They tell it so well/The cavalries charged/The Indians fell/The cavalries charged/The Indians died/Oh, the country was young/With God on its side‘ and so on with the refrain that every victor in the conflicts we have experienced in the West have always claimed that ‘God was on their side’.
On the other side of the Atlantic, images have energed which may make many of us on this side of the pond watch open-mouthed in astonishment. Donald Trump has been formally booked by authorities in Georgia over accusations he conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state. The authorities have revealed an offical photograph or ‘mug shot’ in which Trump appears to be looking venemously into the camera (This may sound subjective but the image really has to be seen) This has immediately been ‘weaponised’ by being put onto the sides of mugs (what else), tee-shirts and a variety of other merchandise. The proceeds are intended to fund the legal fees that Trump will face and perhaps those of his fellow conspirators. There is an expectation that Trump’s lead amongst Republican voters could well get even higher after the release of this image.