A while back, I wondered where ideas come from.
Today, I’m thinking about stories. Real stories.
On Friday morning, I crossed the concourse of London Paddington station and encountered a tribute to the young soldiers of WWI who died in the Battle of the Somme. Young men, in 1914 uniforms, stood idly waiting for trains, squatting on the floor, leaning against walls, occasionally breaking into song. Each one gave out a card. On it was a name, a regiment and a date of death.
Those putting-on-a-brave-face representatives of young men and boys made me appreciate all over again what that war meant for a generation and why we must never undervalue peace.
On I went to Cardiff, where I used to live. Wandering the streets, noting the changes, rabbitting with the family, I realised how objects, places and experiences become talismans and legends in our own histories. Experiences retold carve them deeper. “Do you remember that time when…”
Of course we remember, but like little kids, we want to hear it again. Exactly the same way.
Then Wales beat Belgium three-nil in the European Cup and once again, history was made (and beer spilt). Suddenly it was memories in the making.
Thanks to Dipanshu for the clip.
London, 3 July, 2016. The March for Europe.
Stories depend on the storyteller. I marched through London on Saturday not as a bad loser but in attempt to change the narrative. Enough simplistic scary stories. Because there are so many wonderful realities and complexities to be explored.
Joan (95) from London, in a wheelchair, assisted by her carer: “I will not tolerate government by propaganda. I will not be treated like an idiot.
Natalia (22) from Bratislava, who works in catering: “The media want romantic successes. The reality is boring jobs and slow acceptance by the community. This [result] is a back step.
Adebayo (35ish) from Lewisham, who works in Left Luggage: “Britain can’t make up its mind. Unless you’re good at football. Then you’re one of us.
The main thing I retain from the march on Saturday is a sense of unity. Everyone included, with a broad variety of opinion. Vocal protest, eloquent argument and a willingness to listen to each other’s views – including slogans – were all present.
British politics has become a pantomime. Yeah, yeah, we know who’s behind you.
Our heritage is a blend of myth, legend and history, represented by individual flags, and deserving of the respect and honour shown this week.
But our future is fluid – we can choose the stories we tell, the marks we leave on the wall.