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April 30, 2013


The NaDrawMo sounds like an interesting idea, but where would one find the time for a drawing a day? I tend to draw tonal sketches only as a basis for a watercolour painting, a skill I am struggling to master.

I do find the pursuit of 'out there' activities on Sunday, particularly shopping and sport, carries with it a lack of respect also. But then I also find such activities as trail biking and other noisy pursuits equally lacking in respect, both for people and the environment, (not to mention hunting here in France). Surely there must be a way to compromise. It does seem to me that the mechanically noisier it is, and the more anti-religious, anti-quiet or just plain bullying it is, the more acceptable it is. Maybe I'm wrong.

Very good drawing for 45 minutes! Yes, rather a lot of noisy activities on Sundays, but it may be better than the English Sundays of the 1950s and before, when nothing at all opened, except for newsagents in the mornings. Chemists sometimes opened on Sunday mornings, but you could only buy medicine, not shampoo etc. Thank goodness those dismal English Sundays are over.

Glad you're enjoying the singing.

I used to draw dubious caricatures and random objects in morning news meetings. When both my bosses and my assistant started to attend, I concluded that SOMEONE needed to mind the store and found somewhere else to be. I now make better use of my time, but I miss the sketching.

I think the disrespect stems from a lack of awareness: historical awareness as well as public space awareness. Of the historical awareness, I am probably borrowing a leaf out of too many great writers of the 20th century when I say we've been disconnected en masse from our traditions by the progress enabled by science and technology. Before this disconnection only happened to the colonized, the losers of war, etc., but now a willful ignorance of tradition (where we've thrown out history with the superstition) makes it a problem on a larger scale. The public space awareness too is tied to technology, where things like cell phones, cars (which seal us away from the world), and a growing lack of urban spaces where we gather as a community have washed away any understanding of basic behaviors in public.

As with combatting other societal ills, like racism, classism, or sexism, these too require a greater public awareness before we can do anything about them.

In the meanwhile, I hope the majority of your Church choir performances carry on uninterrupted.

Beth, your post took me back to when I first became a regular churchgoer again—very well along into my adult life. How odd it felt and how halting were the words on my lips—"Well, I can't, I'll be in church...." But habituation, as you allude to elsewhere in your post, eventually made it easier and I became forthright in acknowledging my religiosity (not just that I am "spiritual," but "religious" too, oh my!). Of course then I had to deal with people's biases and assumptions regarding what "religious" people "believe" and how they talk and behave. ("Yes, there really are religious "liberals" and non-literalists out here in ChurchGoingLand! We're fun and we do not hiss when you mention Richard Dawkins...") Finally, your point about the sabbath could stand for a lot more discussion, methinks—it's a fine & noble & necessary practice, and I don't even care if it's completely divorced from its religious trappings. We just need a chill day—every last one of us. Downshift, Chill, Be...and give the loud downtown demonstrations, whatever the worthiness of their cause, a rest.

Speaking as a virtually subterranean, non-proselytising atheist (who would greatly prefer a more precise alternative to that frequently misapplied noun - perhaps based on néant) let me just say how impressed I was with your very even-handed view of the Christian church's role in Quebec and - I infer - your preference for voluntary over imposed observance. Having caught my eye you then touched on something of more direct significance (to me) - the difficulties of keeping the youth choir going and the possible uncoolness of certain types of music. I worry that the qualifier "certain types" may soon be unnecessary and that eventually the sort of music you and I enjoy, in the broadest sense, may become uncool.

On the other hand am I, as they say in Austria "listening to the fleas cough". Most of the live music I hear occurs in Birmingham Symphony Hall, a superb acoustic machine that helped launch the career of Simon Rattle (the heck with his knighthood). The machine may be superb but the audiences fall short of that. I'm talking average age, a figure I alas help augment. Who will step into their support hose in a decade's time?

Two mitigating factors. Because I can afford it I sit in the stalls, surrounded by others who enjoy a similar baronial estate. Perhaps things are less depressing among those on oxygen up in the Grand Tier. However I recently heard the Emerson (Janacek, Bartok, Berg) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London (part of the Festival Hall complex). Sat in the stalls there and noticed the average age had dropped by at least a decade.

Have you anything ecouraging to say about audience age? Are things different in Canada?

the cassandra pages: Sketching in the Sunday sunshine...and musing about secularism.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.