Tuesday, 5 February 2013

London life is a lottery, St James' Park, Brass band horror and a young Jazz Genius

source: internet

Earlier this week, a young traveller from New Zealand was killed in a freak accident.

As he was walking along the street in Camden Town a William Hill betting shop sign fell on him - what were the odds on that ?

A similar incident killed a young woman last year when a window pane fell on her in a square near Oxford Circus. She had popped out of her office to get a sandwich for lunch.

Last week, a young man from an estate in Pimlico was chased down and butchered to death by boys of his own age from a nearby estate, in broad daylight.

This was an echo of a similar incident last year when a pack of teenagers chased another youngster down in Victoria Station, in full view of horrified commuters waiting for trains, on the main concourse of the station, during the rush hour.

The guilty always seem to be found quickly and are punished with imprisonment, which does nothing to stop the sorry string of these outbreaks of school age barbarism.

Random endings from careless fixings or sloppy work, mayhem, murder and madness bubbling up to the surface from the dark currents that crawl along the bottom of the stream of London life.

What’s going on?

It’s always been going on, we don’t know if we are living through more or less of it. Stephen Pinker wrote a big book which claims that we live in quiet peaceful concord compared to our forbears. Who knows, but I’m starting to feel a bit jitterbug jumpy from reading and watching the news.

Talking of which, if the young on the hood want to work off some steam, why don’t they get jiving around like this sexy couple from the sixties .......

....... wise up young bloods, love is all you need, and if you can dance like this then love is what you’re gonna get, as well as the genuine admiration of your peers.

‘This city’s big but it’s got no soul’ sang Gerry Rafferty in his classic hit ‘ Baker Street’

Is it time to ‘settle down in a quiet little town, and forget about everything’ ?

Not yet, we are still alive and the city is full of the free and it ferments around us with frustration and rage so we must just beware of when it boils over but stay here - we can take the heat.
In any case, whilst our defense strategy is ‘ launch on warning’ of hydrogen bombs on one Polaris class  submarine, everything is a little shaky when it comes to health and safety.
Why does the Health and Safety Executive ignore this obvious threat to our health and safety?
We’d be quite keen on everybody having a missile defense system rather than everybody having offensive missiles and no defense except the prospect of mutual oblivion.
Maybe it’s just us, wanting to live and all that.
Don’t expect Cameron and co to do any serious thinking about this - they’re not really alive, so being dead doesn’t really worry them.

Talking of feeling threatened, last night we were beaten up by a brass orchestra at the Royal College of Music.

The programme began with some mellifluous Strauss which the students played with spirit.
The entire audience beamed with pleasure as the fanfares of tuba, trumpet, trombone, horn and the supporting sounds of timpani, percussion and euphonia filled the commodious and stately hall.
But then the conductor told us that we would here a piece written by a contemporary composer.
Contemporary ‘ classical’ music usually leaves out the music, so we glanced anxiously at each other.
A thunderclap rent the air, the audience fell back, stunned, staring at each other as if a bomb had just gone off in our midst.
There followed the sound of the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the onset of the Blitzkrieg and Stuka dive bombers raining death down on the innocent of Europe, punctuated by moments of psychotic indecision and nervous breakdown.
It hurt bad.
We can see the problem : they can’t keep writing like Strauss or Mozart, but this can’t be right - there must be a middle way.

We needed a break, but still in the mood for music we set off to catch the young prodigy of the jazz piano Charlie Stacey and his Trio at Jazz after Dark in Soho.

Charlie is 18 years old.

We first came across him back in the days when we ran Hot Dog Jazz events in Soho to encourage young jazz and build a young audience for it.
He was only 16 then, and commanded respect even then.
This gig was awesome, as our neighbours from Chicago, sitting on either side of us, remarked.
Charlie opened up with Miles Ahead by Miles Davis.
Toes started tapping, fingers started drumming and girls started dancing and whooping.
The depth, control and inventiveness of the performance was astounding.
I wished I could have brought the composer of the brass symphony - a man called Gunther Schuller - here to listen to Charlie, for his jazz shows how to blend discordant and jarring reality with the sound of the divine so that humanity is left with some hope.
Life should be enjoyable but if you only eat sweet food you will end up toothless and fat.
Catch Charlie and some great jazz to learn how to suffer and smile, laugh and live so that the pain, if it comes, is exquisite.

Last scene of all,that ends this strange eventful blog post, is a walk in St James Park, near the noisy neighbours of St James, the Windsors of Buckingham Palace.
They are always throwing noisy rock concerts in their over-large garden, which is bringing down property prices in the area.
It’s alright for the Windsors, their mortgage was paid off generations ago, but a small fall in prices for most of us nouvauxe riche and it’s negative equity, just like the country.

Still, St James Park is a reservation for the rejuvenation of all souls, rich or poor, and it’s a treatment that is both free and effective for most conditions, especially consumer ennui.
In St James, you can reflect on the truth of this : ‘ Consider the birds of the air, they do not sow neither do they reap, or store away in barns, yet thy Heavenly Father feedeth them.........

Of course, in reality, they are fed by the visitors to the park, and so they grow fat and tame, but they still show us how to live together regardless of tribe or territory. They come from across the globe to confer together on matters common to them all, and they develop a common programme of survival.
We were listening to a particularly lively debate when a young human approached the conference and feigned friendliness, then screamed and ran at the gathering, dispersing the participants and ruining the debate.
A typical human.

Earlier today we had bought a Lotto ticket on the grounds that life itself is a lottery.

But we were not winners in Lotto, despite our good fortune in the lottery of life!

Unless otherwise stated all photographs by Elena Bruce

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