What’s keeping you going in 2017? Nuts as the world might seem, goodness, love and good sense haven’t gone away. I present to you four exhibits from the past week to back up my case.
I wrote back on Christmas Day that throughout 2016 there had been “much to make a heart feel heavy and hollow. Comfort and joy might seem in short supply. But even in these times they are still there, as abundant as they have ever been.”
2017 may only be a few weeks old, but it looks set to give 2016 a run for its money. It so often feels like we are on the wrong side of the looking glass.*
Absent of good as the world might sometimes seem, angels are around you at all times. I want to share here some inspiring examples of goodness and of good sense that I have come across this week.
Exhibit A: 100 hearts in 100 seconds
The picture at the top of this page – created by my friend Simon Heath – always makes me smile. I daresay that it might’ve taken him fewer than two minutes to create (entitled as it is “100 hearts in 100 seconds.”). But it’s a source of endless delight to me, and can never be shared too often. My thanks to Simon for his kind permission for me to share it here.
Exhibit B: @CIPD celebrates #lgbthm17
I’m cheered every time I see the current @CIPD avatar in my Twitter feed. They’ve updated it for February 2017 to mark LGBT history month. In a time when LGBT rights in the US appear once again to be under threat, I’m impressed to see such a quietly positive affirmation and celebration of diversity from a major professional body in the UK. They didn’t have to do this. But I’m delighted they did.
Exhibit C: Music’s endless treasure trove of delights
Gentle reader: I don’t need to tell you this, but if you keep your ears open, music will never cease to present you with new and previously-unimagined delights. Here are three great songs I’ve come across for the first time over the past week (skip to the footnotes** to sample each):
- Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White: Grease;
- Joni Mitchell: Hejira; and
- Samuel Yirga – Firma Ena Wereket.
Exhibit D: Three words of wisdom from Will Self
There is still good sense in the world. I’ve always loved Will Self. A sardonic, fiercely intelligent, giant of a gent. I’m a little late to the party here, but this week I came across a superb snippet of Self’s December 2016 appearance on Question Time. He delivers a three-word verdict on then-President-Elect Donald Trump and on his fellow Question Time panelist Nigel Farage. Regard:
I would like to turn this around and find out what’s keeping you going right now. Two questions:
- What’s been the highlight of your week?
- What’s helped you through this week?
Answer one, both or neither.
I posed these two questions on Twitter last night (Friday 3 February 2017), and a number of lovely folks have been so kind as to answer already. Cick here for responses from: @Scruffy_Nick; @HR_Gem; @MiPS1608; @acockroft; @mentormullarkey; @smithrichard; @jayneharrison3; and @steevXIII.
I would love to hear from you, too.
* The past seven days alone have given us more than enough to chew on for what might – in more settled times – fill an average year. My friend @flipchartrick speculates that future historians might see the UK’s current political class as a “Parliament of Lemmings, going headlong over a cliff without a clue where it was going to end up.” And where to start with the relentless waves of alternately concerning and beyond-parody developments crashing in from across the Atlantic? Anything I tried to write on that kettle of fish would surely be outdated by the time I’d reached the end of the sentence (and I type pretty quick).
** Those three songs in full:
Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White: Grease
“I saw my problems and I’ll see the light.” Yes, it is that Grease. A gorgeous laidback groove of a song.
Joni Mitchell: Hejira
Now I have to own that I’d never previously given Joni Mitchell much time. But I was amazed by the snippet of this song in the film Jaco.*** Beautiful, thoughtful, immersive and almost three-dimensional music.
Samuel Yirga – Firma Ena Wereket
Some very tasty Ethiopian jazz for you.
*** A footnote to a footnote? Hey, it’s my blog, why not? Jaco is an excellent documentary about insanely talented and deeply troubled jazz bassist extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius.****
**** A footnote to a footnote to a footnote? Yes! I decided to give the film Jaco a go after listening to this great instalment of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast in which he talks to its producer, Robert Trujillo (who also plucks the bass in plucky beat combo Metallica) and also to fellow bass-plucking fellow, Flea.