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Friday, 7 November 2008

There Was A Time...

There was a time when the world was richer - and that doesn't mean more affluent. Richer in colour, in skill, in the time taken over producing something that would last. In the days before plastic; in the days before 24 hour shopping; in the days before the throw-away society, life was richer. There was a time, too, when those privileged enough to enjoy that richness were in the minority. The majority of people sweated their socks off to produce that loveliness - the seamstresses working till they went blind to produce beautiful cuffs and collars; the children who painted beautiful toys in paint that choked them; the miners, the mill workers etc. etc. whose names and faces are forgotten while the names and faces of the few who paid for it all still stand in stained-glass windows in cathedrals or abbeys.

There was a time, too, when people doffed their caps to their 'betters'. It was ridiculous but 'people so love a cage'. And the 'cage' we were in, was one of class and no one could cross that dividing line...or wanted to. There were princesses and princes who wished that the world could be different and life could be fairer, as surely as there were revolutionaries with the same end. There were women stifling because their gifts had no chance of being used. It was a mind-set. They were all enslaved by it.

Then, along came the notions of making everyone equal. No more loveliness. No more beauty. It wasn't about raising us all to the people we can be; it was about bringing us all down to our lowest level. Only speed and 'anyone can be skilled' now, and 'we all have something to say...' is the norm, and the outcome is pickled fish, mutilated cows or unmade beds called art?? I just can't get over the artist, David, spending five years learning to paint hands - and then painting The Coronation of Napoleon in which the hand of the bishop is so life-like you expect it to jump from the wall!

Nor can I get over the notion of any old rot being classed as poetry, compared to the beauty that raises us to our true selves when we read Emily Bronte's brilliant soul-searching, or Masefield's breathlessness before the sea...

Oh...huge sigh....there was a time...If we could only blend it all perfectly and all be the real people we are here to be....

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