and what, precisely, has colour got to do with it?

A couple of weeks back, I watched a documentary about a musician; a cellist, and his family. But this was no ordinary musician, and certainly no ordinary family. It was a BBC documentary, so you have to register to watch something you have already paid for; and you have to state that you are a licence payer; but that’s just the bloody BBC all over! But, as usual, I digress.

The film covered the life of a most unusual family based in Nottingham, as all the siblings, from  a six-year-old to a 20 year-old sister who holds the Elton John scholarship at the Royal Academy; all are both talented and dedicated to music; and the parents, whilst not being musically talented themselves, give unstingly of their time and family cash, to improve the prospects of their brood. The unusual bit about this family is, of course, that they are black. Whilst the plethora of black musicians goes unremarked, less than 5% of classical musicians are from ethnic minorities, certainly in Great Britain. But the shining star of this tiny constellation called the Kannae-Masons is Sheku; a young man, and a profoundly gifted cellist who won, aged 17, the BBC Young Musician of the Year last summer, the first black musician ever to do so. The film showed the way in which this large family works, somewhat like a machine turning gear wheels in harmony, as they go to school, or equally to get on the train on a Saturday morning to travel 200 miles to attend the Junior Royal Academy of Music.

Some may say that I write of this particular family because of my own long-time fascination and love of all things music of a classical persuasion; but I am afraid not. If I may explain. Intermingled with interviews and dialogue within this talented family were interviews and statements from a very different category of musician; and this one comes with her own loud megaphone aimed at, Black Identity, whatever that is supposed to be. Her name was Chi-Chi Nwanoku, the allegedly charismatic half-Nigerian double bass player who founded the Chineke! Orchestra, which comprises black and ethnic minority musicians from several countries. Her stated philosophy is to only feature black and/or ethnic minority musicians in her orchestra. Fair enough, if she is pushing her own philosophies with her own cash; but somehow I reckon she is on shaky ground if she pleads for funding from private or public sources including the terms B.A.M.E only, as I reckon that might just be skirting the Law.

My judgement of what a person, man or woman, does is quite simple; is he or she good at what he or she does. The colour of his or her skin has no part, and should have no part; in the process. So why this deliberate statement that ‘we are good, and we are black’? This talented ; no, not only talented, but approaching genius level musician is being drawn into a project which can only result in damage, both to him and to music, both classical and every other genre. The fact that the family is black and talented is, and should always be; irrelevant. If they find an audience for their music, both as individuals or as part of a larger group, they will be judged on their music, not for any sense of ‘Diversity’ box-ticking, or anything else. Has anyone bought a CD of Jacqueline Du Pre’s Cello playing because she was blonde, white and ethereally beautiful? Of course they haven’t; they bought that recording because of her playing, because she played as if an angel had entered her very soul, as if the music calls through the reverberations of the cello through which she still speaks, even though so sadly dead these many years. The colour of her skin means and states absolutely nothing, as it should with the rare and raw talent of Sheku Kannae-Masons.

Tomorrow will be my Dancing Day!

 

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If you believe that Christ was born in Bethlehem some two millenia ago, if you believe that He was and Is the Saviour of the world, tomorrow is the day set aside to welcome Him to his birthday. Whether you are Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Episcopalian, but certainly Christian across the globe this day; tomorrow you celebrate the Commencement of a journey which ends in first the squalor of a rigged trial, the sombre majesty of a Crucifixion, the realisation of a Roman Centurion that this was no ordinary criminal; and the triumph of Easter.

I took this photo yesterday afternoon at home, as the pix I took of the clouds over the supermarket car park, taken by a fairly crappy mobile phone camera, just did not do the majesty, beauty; indeed glory of a winter’s sunset. But as I took those pix, I stopped and considered what was all the hurry and bustle of the supermarket crammed, indeed heaving, with late shoppers intent on filling every last desire on their shopping lists, about? No-one stopped, as I did, and gazed at the glory which spread across the heavens. Was all this majesty placed there to remind us of the forthcoming birthday of the King of Kings: or was it a fortuitous coincidence of cirrostratus and alto-cumulus clouds, laden with moisture, which caught and reflected those golden-red rays of a winter sun? Did an all-encompassing Supreme Being decide that, across County Durham, for a few magical minutes, the glory that was Heaven be reflected across a Tesco carpark?

Or was it that, in that same glory of clouds; a reminder that that same Supreme Being is telling us that no politician alive had a hand in that glory, no politician who continually tells us that the Weather can be changed with Our Cash, no politician whose only self-imposed task is to get re-elected, and continually suckle at the public teat as they have done for decades in the past, and hopes to do so into the future?

I wish all my readers a Happy Christmas, free from worry, from want, and hopefully, in good health, both physical and mental, in the New Year to come.

Itz not the ‘Kutz’: Its people not doing their jobs correctly

Baroness Shami Chakrabati (title awarded for services ((in every sense of the word)) to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party) was being asked on BBC Today about the standards for police and the Crown Prosecution Service. As I normally give her a rather grudging respect, precisely because she is a lawyer, and rather a good one as well; I was expecting a straight answer to a straight question, which was whether the three rape cases whose prosecutions fell apart after late disclosure of evidence to the defence team was a ‘one-off’; or whether they were just the tip of a wider, national problem. Her reply, which should have been either the police were at fault in not doing their jobs correctly in the three cases under review; or there was a wider problem, which had to be addressed: was in fact a long, drawn-out splurge about ‘THE KUTZ’, as well as ‘OSSTERITY, LIKE’, and the awful way that the Police, as well as the C.P.S. are struggling with an overload of work because they aren’t getting enough money, and not enough people to do the work: and how awful the Tories are!’

 

Well, I’m sorry, Dame Shazzam, but you lost my attention after the first syllables of ‘THE KUTZ’; which is a pity, because you had some pretty good points when you were still an honest individual, working for Liberty, ; instead of a shameless shill for Corbyn’s Commies and Lefty radicals.

 

Shame about that; pet!

The 11 min. 17 secs. record of 32 completely-avoidable deaths.

I have written before on this blogsite of the sinking of the El Faro, the Jacksonville-Puerto Rico veteran vessel, and her sinking, purely and solely at the hand of her Captain.

Before I travel further into the whys and wherefores of those tragic seafaring deaths, a word about the role of Captain. In the mercantile laws of every seagoing nation, from time immemorial, The Captain, the Master is the Person in Authority, His word is Law, he can abuse a crew, he can do anything he pleases when in International waters to further the passage of his ship: on every seagoing vessel whose command is licensed by the Law, He makes the decisions, and no-one can lawfully go against them.

In the video which I post at the base of this essay, the off-screen commentator; voice deliberately monotone and level; is armed with electronic evidence of the Master’s decisions, target courses, and times when certain commands were issued; or not, as the case may be: the foolhardy manner in which he chose to take on a HURRICANE;  because he knew better; he knew that ALL maritime advice was contrary to the route he took, to the decisions to proceed on a course which took him right into the path of a Cat. 3 HURRICANE; with 110 m.p.h. winds, and waves piling thirty-forty-fifty feet high at peak. He knew better than literally thousands of Master Mariners who would have turned back, and doubled up his mooring ropes and arranged for more lines out, back in Jacksonville, rather than attempt to keep to Tote Maritime’s timetable. He didn’t murder the crew, there was no planning, no sense or need; but there was plenty of evidence that he received some weather advisories on time, some later, at least one which sat on his computer for five hours before downloading and copying to the bridge. He did not murder those crew members, but he was guilty of 32 counts of manslaughter, and one count of suicide (his own)!

I have sailed on the outskirts of an Atlantic hurricane, and have also witnessed the truly awe-inspiring aftermath of a typhoon off Taiwan, where the peaks between rollers must have measured half-a-mile: I have seen a tiny sample of truly gigantic storms, but our Deck Officers and Captains had every possibility laid out, with the then technology before satellite forecasting became generally available in the 1970’s. They laid all possibilities out, all possible routes were discussed, and it was always a meeting of minds which agreed a route towards bypassing a storm.

I have seen the future: and I worry!

I drove out early, bypassing the morning rush-hour queues with a well-travelled shortcut; pausing only to marvel at the ‘Canaletto’-like array of sunlit clouds as the sun arose. It was truly beautiful; amazing beyond words: and it is only at times like that that I wish that I was blessed with the spirit of poetry imbued within my veins, heart and mind. A couple of drivers actually pulled into a side space, so that they might photograph that amazing sight; I had to push on for an appointment, but was reluctant to do so. I have a selection of sunsets stored on my computer, but as for sunrises? Too damn early for the sheer admiration of Nature’s beauty.

I visited my son this morning, after a small check session with the GP surgery. On the couch sat, and then lay, my TWO-year-old Grandson, totally ensconced and entranced by the videos and games he was watching on his Dad’s iPad; but not only watching them; but navigating from one screen to the next; making his mind up as to whether he would stay and watch, or move on to the next. Completely in control of his tiny environment, he knew which pattern to swipe; he had learned to push past the screens which bored him, and settled on some mind-bending story of race cars.

The truly amazing thing for this 77-year-old Grandad is the manner in which he accessed the screen’s controls as though he was a ten-year veteran. The ‘worry’ in my headline? That he, and hundreds of thousand like him, will be denied the honest chance to discover things for themselves, to poke around in a muddy pond, to build a castle in the sand before the tide comes back in, and learning about majestic things, such as tides, and the power of the sea and of the moon, and gravity, all at the same time. As I said, I admire the advances in digital technology; but: a tad too soon for a magical two-year-old grandson to have access to all of this at his fingertips? I honestly do not know!

If Isaac understood, why don’t we?

If a body,  or indeed a railway train is travelling at speed, there are only two forces acting upon it; the engine’s torque, diverted through gears to the driving wheels providing the forwards motion, and inertia, which is the force attempting to keep that same railcar stationary. If a third force is then introduced, attempting to turn the railcars’ forward motion to one side, there is a set set of mathematical calculations which determines how much the railcar can turn without being overtaken by the first force, which is the momentum provided by the engine. If the momentum exceeds the mathematical certainty of the turning, or centripetal force, the rail car will come off the rails, and crash, owing to the force acting upon the railcar.

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See the Wimbledon crash, where the driver fell asleep at the controls, and the speed of the railcar or tram was too great to let the railcar take the bend safely; or one of many possibilities why the Amtrak train failed, which is where the railcars’ speed was said to be possibly at least twice the set speed for the rails curving into the bend at that point.

And conscience is good!

Seems as though the only thing which makes those pesky liberals back down is the threat of legal action. The previous guidance of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, released in April, said that anyone who wanted to obtain a diploma to work in the sexual health field must “prescribe all forms of contraception”. They were challenged by many medical practitioners, as well as Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) who warned of legal action. FSRH Chief Executive Jane Hatfield said that after consulting the group’s members, it found a “wide spectrum of views”; as if they couldn’t have found this out by prior consultation, instead of attempting to ram an abortionists’ wet dream into the guidelines by stealth.

Chief Executive of CMF Dr Peter Saunders said that while the guidelines could be better, it was “a big improvement” on the previous wording.

He said: “Whatever the reason, the climb-down is most welcome and will enable many more doctors and nurses to obtain diplomas in sexual and reproductive health. That can only be good for patient care.” He remarked that the move mimicked a similar ‘change of heart’ by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in June.

Early draft guidance by the GPhC could have forced Christians to provide access to abortifacient or hormone-blocking drugs, but, again after threats of Legal Action, the new guidance recognises pharmacists’ right “to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs”.

The larger question remains: why do these characters insist on attempting to push their views, their values; onto an ever-increasingly resistant body of people whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to those oh-so-liberal-and-yet-allegedly-caring bunch of butchers at the top of the trees?