Monthly Archives: April 2011

Today’s right Royal Hoo-Ha

So today is the day when we all go wild with excitement over the Royal Wedding. With wall to wall TV coverage, Facebook & Twitter are swamped with posts about how giddy with joy we are. The bunting is out, street parties are planned and even the sun is shining.

And good for the couple, may they have long and happy life together.

But I just don’t get this national outpouring of emotion around the monarchy. I understand that the role they play in UK society is historical, and history is important, I can rationalise their symbolic constitutional role as useful, especially for tourism. Even though it leads to anachronisms such as the Commonwealth, which unbelievably has 53 countries in it, and the House of Lords, which consists of ex-politicians and hereditary peers, neither of which should have any role in deciding law.

So why do we go Royalty mad when a wedding like this appears? I suppose you can argue that it is just a good news story, a feel-good event in difficult time, an extra day off in spring. But we are going over the top, this national sentiment that is whipped up feels out of proportion to the importance of the people and the event. Seems strange, and slightly concerning to me. it’s as if we have so little idea about a real national identity, that we have to cling like mad to these sort of events.

So all the best to the couple, I’m sure it will be a great day for them, and a lot of people will get a real buzz about out of it. If you don’t mind I’ll watch it on the 5 minute slot on the late night news tonight, and spend the day enjoying a good book.

Cathedrals….what’s the future?

I’m a real fan of cathedrals. I’ve been going to Carlisle Cathedral for several years, mainly as a chorister parent, but it has become far more than that to me, it’s a refuge and an oasis of peace. Evensong is a beautiful way to end the day, and the Eucharist service is full of depth and meaning. There is a committed community of people who work there, run the services, maintain the music tradition, and keep the civic activities and the building alive.

I was there a week or so ago, and looked around during the service, and looking at the sparse number of people there. I was reflecting that there are two types of people connected with the Cathedral. Those that keep these activities going, and those that attend the services, most evenings for Evensong with a full choir, there are only a handful in the congregation, and those attending are at the older end of the spectrum, and are definitely diminishing in number.

I can see a time in the not so distant future where the Cathedral still has it’s choir, it’s ministers, it’s liturgy, it’s civic role but no-one goes anymore, well maybe they’ll be a few of us there, but you know what I mean.  A cathedral does have a different role to a local church, it has connections and opportunities in cities that other churches don’t, but I think that just its history and civic role can keep it going.

And that will be so sad for so many reasons.

Mind you it’s been there for 900 years so I suppose I’d better not write it off yet.

Maybe you should pop in and visit before it …well who knows.

Writing for pleasure

In the last 12 months I’ve spent more time writing than in the whole of the last 20 years combined, having started an MBA and also taken up journalling.

Buying a iPad really helped as it is not as intrusive as carry a laptop around, has made writing simply more accessible in everyday life, with programmes such as Evernote & Dropbox making it very simple to capture thoughts and ideas.

I thought this would lead to a lot more blog posts, but as I’ve written I realised that for me, writing is intrinsically private, it helps me think more clearly, process emotions and learn. Hence this very quiet blog.

There are also so many interesting writers and bloggers out there, that it has made me question why I would want to write publicly. The blogs I enjoy are those that challenge, introduce new ideas or are topical, these bloggers tend to write about subjects rather than themselves, although my favourite writers are those that combine the two. Even this post feels too introspective to me.

With my studies on retail, and my work in Christian bookselling, and I have quite a few opinions on a “trade in trouble”, but being fortunate to be working for one of the most professional and progressive companies in the sector, I don’t want give away the family jewels or come across as patronising, so I’m reluctant to blog in this area. The Christian retail trade need to engage with the harsh realities of retailing, and to win back the hearts and minds of the Church, and on it’s current course it is not going to do that.

So writing has become my new unexpected pleasure in life. I’m so pleased to have discovered it.