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Phoenix 16/04/2013

April 17, 2013

I went via St. Paul’s on my way to Tate Modern today, around lunchtime, the day before ‘the funeral’ (i”m not being coy, I just don’t have anything to add to the cacophony which has surrounded the death of Margaret Thatcher), I can only suppose that in these secular days we resort to some atavistic need when confronted with the reality of death.  Anyway, thousands of well dressed people were pouring out of the cathedral and I was momentarily confused.  I’d seen a huge number of BBC outside broadcast vans parked down the side and there were lots of police, some on horseback, but nothing to indicate that I had lost a day.  I glanced at an order of service booklet that a guest was holding to discover that this was a memorial service for the Test match special commentator, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, whose voice I remember well, and whose passing, some time ago, I noted.  The attendants seemed like a pleasant crowd of people and I thought about the juxtaposition of this event and the one due to take place tomorrow, a thought, I conjectured, which would have also occurred to them.  I hoped that, as it seemed, everyone was there because they wanted to be, and that it was no more or less than acknowledging the life of this person who had in turn contributed to our national life by commenting onthe game of cricket – that quintessentially English pastime – with knowledge and enthusiasm.  I went on to the Tate, in the teeth of a gale over the Millennium `bridge.

On my return a completely different scene revealed itself.  On the steps some sort of rehearsal for tomorrow was taking place – there were some old soldiers, some young soldiers and some policemen all practicing something on the steps, at the very front was this bizarre tableau of a City of London policeman and two ‘bridesmaids’,surrounded by photographers.  There was no way to make any meaning of it (I, of course, asked), but everyone just seemed to be photographing it.   What it might be about didn’t seem to be of interest to anyone but me. The idea seemed to be to take pictures and enjoy the image ‘the spectacle’.

I think we’re supposed to be wearing red tomorrow – as some sort of gesture.  I’m happy to go along with that, though in my heart it doesn’t feel very adequate or revolutionary! Image.  Anyway here’s the picture


From → Thoughts

  1. Reblogged this on Bronwen Bradshaw and commented:
    I too have been thrashing about trying to make sense of today’s event at St Paul’s: here LIz, as usual coming from an unexpected angle, says it all for me.

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