Friday 1 January 2010

Two ways to start a year

There were days before there was television, and there were days before New Year's Day did not mean the yearly fix of Strauss and the likes from Vienna. Since we were not first or even among the first million to have a television set I should even remember what it was like. But then, it looks like a really old tradition which makes it impossible to think of how it was without it.

But since when was not it enough to be the Wiener Philharmoniker, be proud of having a world wide audience, so there had to be some Brand to "support" it (it was mentioned at the BBC transmission, probably a compulsory mention)? I can probably look up the fatal year on the net, it must be in the era of Total Ideological Market Dominance - we are living in the end time of that era now I'd say.

I never felt any urge to imitate the behaviour, thank you very much, but there were times when some daredevils took a New Year's Day plunge in the sea, whatever the weather, whatever the temperature. Since the North Sea water is relatively warm in midwinter there was some logic about it, apart from its being a ritual.

I would not know whether there still are autonomous divers at beaches far away from any onlooking crowd, who persist in this tradition, but at well-known seaside resorts in NL there was no escaping television registration of the plunge. And so this spontaneous activity duly had to be supported by a nasty multinational as well. A multinational which repeatedly warned against taking the dive because "of the temperature". As if anyone asked them!

Starting the year with - for days on end in the worst case - the Radetzky March in mind, a militaristic tune celebrating a Habsburg Monarchy general who failed to vanquish the Prussians - it is sad when you think of it. If he had prevailed, how different would the world have looked? Not more peaceful, but very different anyway. What a tune to start the year with.

Consciously or not, Jools Holland's Hootenanny closed on a completely opposite note in the New Year's night: an All Guest Star performance of the spiritual Down by the riverside. One of the guests was Boy George. They had a repetition of the tune earlier in the year 2009, you can read the words - they are based on Scripture.
That's the way to start the year.
Study war no more.
For a peaceful 2010.