It seems that there are still a few things that can get me out of bed bright and early on a non-work day, and, despite all my cynicism and ever increasing boredom, a new season of Formula One appears to be one of those things. That after three years of unprecedented domination by Mercedes and a sweeping rules change it seems to have taken an hour of free practice to demonstrate that things now are as they were is mildly depressing, but we live in hope.
Living in hope seems to be one of the things we need to remember to do at times like this, times when other things – and especially multimillionaires driving utterly impractical cars round in circles – appear insignificant, at times when our freedom to do our own things on a daily basis, which we take for granted, takes a vicious knock.
Like many I spent yesterday in a strange and uneasy mood, thinking about the victims of Wednesday’s cowardly (let’s call it what it was) attack, about my friends and colleagues, oft maligned, who work extremely hard and well and with integrity in Parliament, and wondering also about what the writer or artist could and should do in this situation.
As before I have come to the conclusion that the best thing I can do is to keep on keeping on, neither to change nor to react unless it come from within. If our behaviour or our habits change as a result of fear then we have suffered a defeat, however small, and those who would defeat us have scored a victory.
I am reading Brian Keenan’s An Evil Cradling at the moment, an account of his enforced captivity, and he returns time and again to the notion that one must stand firm and retain some sense of self in the face of those who would strip us of our identity. I have no doubt that there are countries in the world in which I would not be permitted to write my music at all, let alone get it performed. I hope I would do so anyway, but who knows?
So today I am going to carry on as before and continue work on the orchestral piece while starting to put together a text for another commission, maybe play a game or two, and, in the dead of night, I will continue to listen to reports of cars going round in circles. In other words, I will keep on doing those things that make me me.