Wednesday, 12 November 2014

In the dark....with Jarvis

17:14:00 Posted by Sheilagh Dyson , , , , No comments

In keeping with the greyness of the day and the hopelessness of the political landscape, my mood is gloomy at the moment. Having written several blogs that amount to angry rants at the world, I determined that this week would be different and something gentler and more positive would flow from my laptop. So here we go with er… ‘dark’, the connotations of which are almost all negative – gloomy, threatening, brooding, mysterious, sombre, evil, funereal, menacing, opaque, depressed….. And yet the dark can be a backdrop, an essential foil to an explosion of scintillating light. Without the stark contrast that the dark sky provides, we could not fully appreciate the beauty of the stars, for instance.
In the 1990s I went on holiday to a farm in Ireland. Fairymount Farm in Co. Tipperary was a magical place in the Irish midlands, with a mystical history and was said to be situated on a ley line. We arrived at night and I have never forgotten glancing up at the dark cobalt sky, which seemed to be brooding just above my head. And, set against it, MILLIONS of winking, twinkling, glittering stars, so close that I felt that I could reach up and pluck one for myself, hold the scintilla in my hand. The magic could be within my grasp.

Image by Tim Hadfield - Canada at the World Fireworks Championship, Blackpool 2014

I’ve never liked fireworks. As a child I used to hide myself away from the staccato gunfire racket of bangers and rip-raps. The house felt under siege from heavy artillery and I was relieved when it was all over. Braver now, I’m possibly regressing to the child-like awe and wonder of fireworks, the explosion of life and colour against the night sky, that I never experienced as a child. Along with thousands of others, we went with our family to the World Fireworks Championship on the promenade in September and were amazed by the winning display by Canada. The grace, ingenuity, exuberance, verve and, above all, colour of the display were magnificent. An inky, expectant sky hosted a cornucopia of dazzling, dancing lights of every hue imaginable.
As dusk descends on Glastonbury festival a palpable air of expectancy and excitement envelops the Pyramid stage, reaching a crescendo as the headliners take to the stage. There is good music, and much more, to be found in the festival’s vast acres and numerous stages every minute of every day, but, as night descends, a particular frenzy takes hold of the fun-loving hordes. Once again, the darkness of the sky facilitates a magical transformation, as the pitch-black stage suddenly bursts into life.
In 1995 the Sheffield indie band, Pulp, found themselves unexpectedly propelled into super-stardom, headlining the Pyramid stage on the Saturday night. Summonsed at very short notice to replace the injured and rapidly imploding Stone Roses, Pulp lit up the Somerset sky and owned Glastonbury with their evocative songs of grubby teenage angst and longing, culminating in the magnificent anthem, ‘Common People’. Jarvis Cocker, fizzing and spitting with righteous indignation and contempt, was a wonder to behold. His spleen had never been more……splenetic!
So there, for me, are a few examples of the bright side of dark. And I’ve managed to steer clear of politics!
Thank you for reading,