Emptied out

March 17, 2008

Twice each year I attend a sacred ritual from which I emerge spiritually refreshed and emotionally drained; an empty sack but a happier man. I refer of course to the School Concert. There are two such rituals. The first involves the teeny ones : the Primary School Christmas Show. Here, it really doesn’t matter what happens on stage; the point is only and simply craning your neck to see your own cute wee thing. Flashlight photons scatter off the the weird parental chemicals that diffuse through the air of the room, and you weep buckets.

The second type of event – the Senior School Variety Concert – is abolutely dire in most Schools, but not in the place my two big kids go to. The annual show, called DiverseCity, is absolutely stunning and quite overpowering. The school (James Gillespies High School) has a kind of genteel minor fame as the inspiration for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Things have changed since the Thirties … for one things there are boys; for another, its the opposite of genteel. None of this rubbish about School Uniforms at Gillespies. Their motto is “Diversity” and their belief is that all that encourages the Life Force is good, and all that discourages it is bad. The school breeds musicians of all types, and has the best break dancing team you can see outside New York. Every act is greeted by whooping and hollering of a most un-British type. Gillespies is twinned with a School in a South African Township (Zwelibanze). Some of their pupils had been brought over, and performed in the concert. The black-and-white combination was a rich and emotive brew. After close harmony singing, the Zwelibanze kids started that extra-ordinary South African boot-slapping foot stomping dance. Then hordes of pallid but muscular teenage Scots lads ran on and joined in… wonderful. This, followed quickly by Dark Island on the bagpipes, was just too much. I didn’t have to discreetly hide the tears, as everybody else was doing it too. I think they had the flood defence team on standby…

So anyway. I feel morally refreshed, ready for the last week of the STFC consultation period ..