Sunday, 6 December 2009

All Things Bright And Beautiful


The Royal Albert Hall was once a major boxing arena, with some wrestling, as well as being a major venue for Temperance and Political rallies, and other great occasions. In recent decades it has become more of a venue for vulgar entertainments, so inevitably the BBC has become attracted to it.

According to a plaintive letter in the latest Saga magazine sent to me free looking for a subscription (that will teach me not to ask them for insurance quotes) a reader tells of an experience in September. Invited to attend a BBC “Big Sing” for “Songs of Praises” in September at the Royal Albert Hall, he found it decked out with holly and Christmas trees. Just to remind them the warm-up man bellowed out “It’s Christmas!” when in reality it was the Autumn Equinox.

After an hour singing away at Christmas Carols led by Aled Jones, the BBC’s resident Holy Man, they had an interval. Whilst the carollers went out to get some fresh air and to view the lines of the impoverished of Kensington waiting to cash their food stamps in the shops of Partridges, Waitrose and M&S, or seeking out cheap Chinese clothing on Kensington High Street, the Hall was having a makeover, as the BBC calls it.

When they resumed the “Big Sing” after the interval it was Easter, apparently, with hymns and the rest to match, and suitable d├ęcor. Perhaps it was as well that the BBC did not try to cram in a session for Midsummer Day, the mind boggles at what they may have come up with.

We have all seen those TV documentaries where the presenter is atop a far hill with fields of yellow rape seed oil in the distance in the May, waving to a village at the bottom. Then when the presenter reaches the village it is clearly Autumn. Also the costume dramas where the handsome hero arrives at the lady’s house in the Autumn, and apparently leaves in the Spring. In the book he took only tea, and did not winter there.

I have been struggling to find some “wrong” dates for some events or music, or others, but cannot come up with a really good one. Others may have wilder imaginations. As for religion, the BBC seems to regard all feasts as moveable according to its outdoor broadcast recording schedules and sporting events.

But as every comedian knows, it is all a matter of timing.

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