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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Sing a sad song, make it better

TECHNO-NOTE. People wishing to comment on Tone Deaf during the past 48 hours may have had their comments rejected. The reason: my mailbox at PlusNet, my ISP, had filled up, mainly alas with spam. It has now been cleared.

Brother Sir Hugh admits being sickened by the outcome of the referendum but says life must go on. In his case that means overcoming the defects in his hard-worked knees and continuing to explore the English countryside.

In my case, following our holiday, I resume singing lessons from which I've drawn so much exhilaration. But something's changed. I find myself repeatedly making basic errors which, quite simply, add up to hitting the wrong notes. V, also affected by the referendum, struggles to be encouraging and I sympathise with her - my performance doesn't deserve it. I try to sing confidently but it emerges as misshapen bombast.

That evening on TV news I learn of  a growing level of "hate crimes" against immigrants and I'm visited by a sense of history. Immigration was a fruitful area of exploitation by the Leave campaigners; now they've got what they imagine they want ordinary people, interviewed for the cameras, feel entitled to speak their minds. "All out" is the message.

One of the inarguable benefits of the EU is that it has promoted peace in Europe for seventy years. But for how much longer? The emerging resentment against "foreigners", some of whom are third-generation UK residents, is terrifying. It would only take one populist demagogue to harness this force and we could have something similar to Germany in the early thirties. How ironic given that present-day Germany has striven so hard and so selflessly - with France - to ensure this doesn't happen.

A rather more serious prospect than tumbling stock-market prices.

The quotation I've illustrated is, of course, from Schiller's Ode To Joy, adopted by Beethoven as the choral part of his Ninth Symphony.

It's also the EU's anthem.


  1. The title is jarringly close to some "Hey Jude" lyrics by The Beatles. I might have gone with "Take a sad song and sing it better". But then, this is YOUR patch, and it's far more prosperous than mine.

  2. MikeM: It was meant to be close (to Hey Jude!) in the vague hope that it fitted the circumstances. I suppose it was also intended to be jarring since the circumstances could be said to be jarring. My patch, yes. But open to any type of argument or suggestions whereby it may be improved.

  3. I was always puzzled by, 'Remember to let her into your heart.' In my experience of love, that bit happened whether you wanted it to or not, you certainly weren't offered the opportunity to forget it. A great song, but disappointing in the length of 'na,na' sections. Maybe he realised the lack of sense in his lyrics as the composition went on.

    A strange and disconcerting outcome regarding the EU, but it is good to see politicians running around like headless chickens... well it would be if they weren't in charge of the country!

  4. Blonde Two: I always found the song over-simplistic and musically monotonous. But its sentiments, slightly adjusted, seemed to fit the mood of the post, if rather vaguely.

    And you're right about letting her into one's heart. As if it were an intellectual decision like going on a diet, or deciding on blue socks rather than grey. Nor, as you say, is forgetting an option.

    Interesting how the tone of the news reports has changed (as one might expect) now the EU decision has been taken. How more and more unexpected implications are revealed. An article in The Guardian by a QC/judge I admire says the referendum result is not in itself legally binding, which opens up quite another can of worms. I'm in a state of suspended animation, wincing at the further cuts the Chancellor says will be necessary. I trust that you do not end up using your survival training for real.