Last week I mentioned that I had reached the milestone of a thousand odd posts, (on Bignews Margate Blog) and thought I'd mention that you are not alone in reading my blogs which chronicle petty politics and middle-aged angst, I get quite a few emails from readers informing me of local events, which I mention or not, depending on my random memory, some stuff of coarse is of a campaigning nature, sometimes I get invites, I've even had the offer of money from a PR company, which stupidly I turned down, still I'm always interested in info as well as offers of freebies etc..
A couple of weeks ago I was offered a complimentary copy of new CD "England My England" a collection of familiar and intrinsically English music sung by the King's College Choir, Cambridge. The 40 tracks on 2 CD’s consisting of hymns, psalms not exactly party music, but the sort of stuff I might listen to and do as I hammer these posts together (as, at the time of writing).
If I have a regret on being an atheist, it’s the absence of music associated with the English Church. For my generation the music on this CD is evocative of a time, as kids when the church was a greater influence in society than today.
Still irrespective of all that malarkey, there is nothing more inspirational, than the sound of a good choir, and although looking at the titles, I haven't a clue with most, till I listen, like the first track "Zadok the Priest" one of Handel's compositions, still had I not heard it, I would taken a guess based on the title, as maybe belonging to Hawkwind, another tough one, was this track 2 "Lux aeterna", no I didn't have a clue, till I listened to it, the music is by Elgar, it’s describe as a choral setting of Nimrod, which will be familiar to many, generally encountered at funerals, often as the curtains close in crematoria I think.
Some of the music you can listen to in a detached sort of atmospheric way but some of it like "Abide with me", "I vow to thee, my country" connects you, in a spiritual way, with your Englishness.
Music can be a powerful emotional catalyst and they don’t get anymore potent than "Jerusalem", in engendering English pride and or inspiring patriotism , as I listened to this particular hymn this morning I'm not entirely sure what caused the lump in my throat, the music or the bank statement I was reading at the time.
Perhaps the best and most distinguishing feature of being English is understating national pride, which explains why we don’t take St. Georges day off and are more likely to get drunk on St. Patricks Day drinking Guinness rather than Bitter. We are losing our traditions, still we’ll always have our musical heritage.