Sunday, October 05, 2008
Posting has been proving impossible this weekend. I've lost the will. Mandelson's return? A mistake probably, but why did he have to wear a fuschia pullover under his suit? Also there seems to be a lot of analysis based upon his twin role - political and economic. With Mandelson the personal is political and economic and everything else. The political columnists are being as naive as they always are. Financial crisis? The fault of Clinton? Well, maybe, but parti pris monocausalities are not persuasive. Sarah Palin? Her debate performance, widely said to be a triumph, was grotesque, condescending, dumb, but she can act, no doubt about that. In fact, come to think of it, is this the post I have been looking for - is Mandy Brown's Palin? No, here's the real post. I just heard Dear Lord and Father of Mankind sung on Radio 4's Morning Service and I realised that hymn formed me. For some reason, the line 'Beside the Syrian Sea' and the last three lines - rolling thunder followed by a whisper, always an effect gloriously overstated by our school organist - lodged so firmly in my imagination that, thereafter, I was consistently distracted from coherence and ambition by the effect of words. Some moralistic will to resist this distraction was probably the reason I never became a proper writer. And, finally, the Wikipedia page on this hymn links to a performance by the Besses o' th' Barn Band. Trains in my childhood all seemed to stop at Besses o' th' Barn and, each time they did, I chanted this strange and wonderful name quietly to myself. But the thing is, I never got off to look around.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:03 am