Sunday, 10 September 2017

Same Old Same Old

Last night I watched (along with several million others world-wide) the last night of the Proms.

Having first watched the highlights of the last day of the England/West Indies Test Match, I was in a fairly jubilant state.

Still buzzing over the England win (and in particular the splendid performance of James Anderson, I was feeling more aware than usual of my Britishness.

About 10 minutes into the familiar formula of the "Last night of the Proms", I was suddenly rather sick of the whole flag-waving, balloon throwing, self-congratulatory spectacle.

I know people love the tradition , same music, same audience participation, huge laughs at small jokes, and the chance to cheer not only the performers but themselves also, but something about the rather smug "aren't we lucky to be British" flavour, set my teeth on edge.

It is true there are many things the Brits do well, and it is right to recognise that fact, but the hugely complacent and self satisfied blanket self-approval worries me.

Any type of nationalism worries me.

It is beginning to feel that this particular annual event has little to do with music and more to  do with self aggrandisement.

Am I just seeing what is not there?  or  is  it perhaps time we laid this out-dated piece of theatre to rest?

6 comments:

  1. Don't you think that all this Brexit hallabalou( southswedish phrase for loud and disturbing action) makes you alert for bad signs of nationalism and pride? All over Europe there is a motion towards selfawareness and national pride, these actions and phenomena bring back some bad memories for some and scaring vibes for others. What is right to feel? Wrong? Is there a time and place for everything and another time when its all wrong? Like cracking a joke with the worst of timing??? You feel bad about the negative nationalism and pride, Ray, so the outbursts of that among your fellow country men all of a sudden feels awkvard and malplaced, even if you have always known this event to be innocent, joyful and great fun to take part of. I don't know, perhaps we really have to reconsidder some outbursts of national pride OR we have to come to terms with why we feel bad about things that used to feel good, and decide if our inner compass is pointing in a new direction, or if we can stand firmly in our true beliefs and still enjoy a bit oldfashioned, silly entertainment of the oldschool. In Sweden they are making alterations in old childrens books, because of racism...TinTin was removed from the shelfs f.i because of the racial stereotypes. Bad thinking isn't going to change because we move it out of sight. We have to live with the fact that the face of racism and intolerance changes, and our inner feelings and thinking changes with it. There is not more there than was before, but there is more inside of you than was before. Things change around us, perhaps there is no harm in the proms, but your interest in it has faded because of your experience. You can't be alone in that. As long as we don't judge others who still enjoy immensely, there is no harm done.
    Proms can absolutely be a good and healthy sign of national pride, perhaps it will to you as well, one day when things look brighter in the world.

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    1. I understand your point Solveig but still have a deep-rooted suspicion of all overtly nationalist
      exhibitions.
      The Proms are a wonderful annual event but I still feel differently about the 'last night'.

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    2. Hm, I see what you mean, and you are probably right. This very moment there is a counting of votes going on . The church elections were concluded at eight o clock. As I have said, the nationalist/rasist? party Sweden Democrats have been holding musters to urge people to vote. Church to them means nothing but keeping the swedish culture and pure way of thinking. Many of their followers left church years ago, but joined in as members again to be able to vote. We celebrated mass this morning, the church was almost empty, but in the parking lot after the service, people were lining up for voting. I don't want to judge anyone, I just feel sad.
      I know this is hard for you to understand, but we can soon be facing a church ruled partly by these people.
      Nothing has changed, we haven't learned anything.
      Your Brexit is proof of it, right there Suem, and our election too. God help us, there is no darkness in Him!
      I'm sorry Ray, I have been off for a while, your eye operation, I'm pleased to hear it went well!!!!

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    3. Thanks Solveig. Let's hope we are all wrong and that there is a 'wind of change' blowing out there. Heaven knows we need something good to happen.

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  2. No chance of things changing in tems of Nationalism , it is only likely to get worse as Brexit looms. Hope you are recovering from your op.

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    1. Yes thanks Sue, the clarity of vision in the left eye is enormously improved and it seems to be healing quickly.

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