Monday, 22 October 2018

From inspiring music to the rudeness of the modern world!

Yesterday evening we went to the Opera House in Manchester again. This is only the second time I have been there. The first time was just over ten years ago when we went to see Leonard Cohen perform, just as the great man began touring again to try to reconstitute the fortune stolen from him by his accountant. It was a magical performance, probably the very best concert I have even been to. It was helped by the fact that the Opera House is quite a small, rather intimate venue.

Last night we saw Richard Thompson. The concert was perhaps not quite so magical as Leonard Cohen’s offering but it was still rather amazing. He played and sang a mix of new material and old favourites. And a couple of encores!

In the foyer was a notice informing us that the show was very loud and that customers could ask staff for ear plugs. Which I duly did. Phil already had his own in his pocket. I wondered why they set the sound system so loud that the audience needs to take measures to protect their ears. Certainly some of the songs were meant to be played at top volume but did it have to be at deafness-inducing level? 

Walking back to the tram stop we reflected on Mr Thompson’s ability to continue producing such top class material at his advanced age! He is one of our contemporaries so we feel that we can say that. Besides, he made jokes himself about some of his, still popular, material being fifty years old now! We also wondered at the drive to tour and perform as he continues to do. I must have seen him three times in the last three years. Surely he doesn’t actually need the money. But, we decided, maybe getting up in stage and doing what he so obviously loves is what keeps him young.

Then we caught the tram. And suddenly we were plunged into the reality of a rude modern age. As the doors of the tram closed a youngish woman tried to push them open again by putting her arm in the way. Her arm was briefly trapped. She managed to get free but her plastic carrier bag and her handbag were still trapped. The driver realised what was going on and opened the doors.

The young woman, beautifully groomed, with glossy black hair, smartly dressed in an expensive-looking coat, got on the tram and proceeded to pour out vile invective against the driver, or, more specifically, to the driver, calling him “t**t” and shouting about how he had hurt her “f***ing arm”. When people remonstrated with her, she turned her fury on them, in the same potty-mouthed manner, and telling anyone who spoke to shut up and anyone who looked her way to f*** off.

Maybe she was drunk but apart from the lack of inhibitions she showed no signs of inebriation. And she looked as if she was on her way home from somewhere as she was towing a small suitcase.

Her friend, an equally well-dress but less flamboyant woman, succeeded in calming her down by telling her as this tram was on its way to Oldham and Rochdale, she should expect rough and ready, unsophisticated behaviour. Really?! Who gave them the right to pass judgement on the passengers on the tram?

Everyone knew by now that she was on her way to Bury and would change trams at Victoria. I could not help hoping that she would have a long wait for her connection! Karma of sorts!

Then today I read about a man on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to London who was caught on camera racially abusing an elderly woman after she sat next to him on the plane. He called her “an ugly black b*****d” and later yelled that he hoped someone would sit between them because he did not want to sit next to her “ugly f***ing face”.

Other passengers and members of the crew tired to intervene to no avail. In the end the cabin crew escorted the elderly woman to another seat.

Now, why did the pilot not arrange for the man to be removed from the flight. Moving the other passenger simply gave in to his racist demands. Removing HIM would have shown him, and others, that such behaviour is not acceptable. But removing him would, of course, have delayed the flight departure and messed up Ryanair’s “quick turnaround”.

And it’s not just on trams an budget airlines that foul and abusive language abounds. Firstbthere is this:-

“A senior Labour MP has called on Conservative whips to identify party colleagues who use “vile and dehumanising language” towards Theresa May, after a weekend during which there were rhetorical references to the prime minister being knifed and hanged.
The Sunday Times quoted one unnamed Tory MP as saying: “The moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her front and twisted. She’ll be dead soon.”
Another said May was now entering “the killing zone”, and a third remarked: “Assassination is in the air.”
In the Mail on Sunday, another source was quoted as saying that May should “bring her own noose” to a meeting of backbench Tories.”

Add to that stories of President Trump praising the Republican Congressman who was reported to have responded to a question from a Guardian reporter by bull-charging him and knocking him to the ground, and I get the impression that rude and abusive behaviour has been given a seal of approval! 

The world has become a rather nasty place!

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