Thursday, 7 July 2016

Blues - I have one connotation and need the other.

Blues noun
plural noun: the blues
  1. 1.
    melancholic music of black American folk origin, typically in a twelve-bar sequence. It developed in the rural southern US towards the end of the 19th century, finding a wider audience in the 1940s, as blacks migrated to the cities. This urban blues gave rise to rhythm and blues and rock and roll.
  2. 2.
    Formal
    feelings of melancholy, sadness, or depression, .
    "she's got the blues"
    synonyms:depression, sadness, unhappiness, melancholy, misery, sorrow, gloominess, gloom, dejection, downheartedness, despondency, dispiritedness, low spirits, heavy-heartedness, glumness, moroseness, dismalness, despair;

Here comes the rain again.  This week I promised myself some sunshine but I had forgotten that Wimbledon is in its final week, hence intermittent showers will persist until at least Sunday. I ran around yesterday, like a headless chicken, tidying my garden in anticipation of the Thursday green bin collection. I have paid Wyre Council an extra £30 for this service and am so determined to put out a full load every two weeks, that I was still trimming privet as the light turned to rose. Despite a sky overloaded with black, tower-blocks of cloud, the twilight sky was awash with soft, delicate shades of pink.

I needed to do some gardening. I was getting the blues. Correction - I have been feeling more than a little blue for some time. I am in a low mood, although life is busy and that usually keeps the blues away, something has triggered bad feeling in me that I don't usually have when things are going reasonably well. So why do I feel so low;
  • I have over 90% responsibility for my Mum's care. 
  • I have been working behind the scenes on the #wearehere project - most Sundays and Wednesday evenings for the four weeks prior to 1st July - and although this has been an incredible experience - I haven't really had a 'day of rest' in a while.
  • My family have all visited from all over the country, Spain and Canada. They all have wonderful lives and sun-tans. I haven't had any sunshine since last September.
  • I have become a compulsive cleaner - really I can't go anywhere without cleaning. However, should you invite me round, out of the blue now that I have imparted this knowledge, I will know that you have an ulterior motive. I will not come round unless you promise to lock away all your cloths and cleaning products. 
  • I need a Jazz fix.  It is a very long time since I went to any kind of Jazz scene event. This is terrible. Kula Shaker were great but I am a Jazz lady. Courtney Pine at Lancaster Jazz Festival was great - but eons ago. I need Jazz and I need it now.  
  • My own baby girl is about to become a mother for the first (and she says, last) time.  Unfortunately I think that I have been so in love with her bump and so busy looking at Gran-Baby things that I may have been errant in my duties as her mother. You see she thinks that being pregnant is the difficult bit...
  • My son and his girlfriend have been in Lanzarote this week. I seem to have been force-fed football, beer and pretzels. I do like a bit of footie - but four internationals in one week? I haven't had to watch so many matches since Egypt 2002, when England beat Germany and Argentina in the World Cup. Oh how I miss the heady days when we could actually kick a ball into the back of a net. I am writing this on Wednesday and will have to watch Wales annihilate Portugal this evening. (I had to come back and edit this - Portugal won 2-0). 
So there it is, in a rather protracted nutshell. The reason I am feeling, blue, depressed, melancholic, low, despondent and heavy-hearted is "all of the above."

Thinking about the tragic loss of twenty-thousand young men on the first day of the Battle of the Somme put my own woes perfectly into perspective. Last Friday I took a little time to encounter local lads, all volunteers, who paraded silently through Blackpool and Wyre streets in WW1 uniform.  They have spent eight weeks, sweating, rehearsing their tableaux every Wednesday night and all day most Sunday's, to help realise the vision of Turner prize winner Jeremy Deller's incredibly moving tribute to the soldiers who died that day, one hundred years ago.

We have all shared WW1 stories as part of the assimilation. Mum had photo's of her Uncle Bob who served in the Army Air Corps, (the fore-runner to the RAF), I shared them with the lads, to help them get their moustaches right for the period. I accompanied them to a mass rehearsal at the old Granada TV studios in Manchester. That day, I was lucky enough to meet Jeremy Deller and the very lovely Emily from The National Theatre . It has given me some insight into the choreography and the intended impact of the small,white cards, given to the public by the young actors, each bearing the name of a soldier who died on 1st July 1916.

This was to be a WW1 centenary that would connect with people during their morning commute, sitting having a coffee or walking in our nation's city centres.  People who were busy thinking about anything but the sacrifice made by our fore-fathers 100 years ago.  The effect of the piece, for anyone who encountered it on Friday, may have been immediate or perhaps they shared their feelings later, with friends or colleagues. Twitter went over the top that day.

I wasn't allowed to talk about the project, known as Octagon, under threat of excommunication and for a communicator and press officer that is a very big ask. During the away-day at Manchester, I did have a little time to sit in a corner of the floor and write. I emailed the poem to Jeremy last Thursday: my way of getting in early to thank him for his wonderful gift to our great nation. "Bless 'em all... the long and the short and the tall."
 
 
 
Passing On

Khaki and canvas kitted lads,
Caked in grease,
Bathed in terracotta clay,
Earth-worn knees and elbows
Kitted, booted, belted,
Tin hats at the ready
For another trench filled day.

This is not war,
This is loss.
Loss revisited on a bustling street.
Organic: Seamlessly spontaneous,
Mindfully rehearsed,
In studios,
In secret.

This is loss,
Encountered by a new generation.
A high gloss generation,
Eye-glued to technology,
Nails, hair, clothes,
Styled to perfection,
For another carefree day

On this first day of July,
Spirits of our war-dead
With the living intertwine.
Not in prescriptive poem,
Nor in a staged and scripted play,
Each of twenty thousand men
Are resurrected and remembered,
In an extraordinary way.

On this anniversary,
The soldiers of the Somme
Sit beside us, stand among us
As a century of barriers
To sharing unimaginable loss
Crumble into wind-blown dust.
A living, breathing,
Monument to Peace,
Engages us in voiceless volumes
And passes on.  

Adele V Robinson (for Jeremy Deller - 1st July 2016) 
 
Thank you for reading folks. Be kind to each other. Adele

Reactions:

1 comments:

Lady Curt said...

I'm at the end of the phone if you need to chat ....see you Friday...