NO insult was intended or offence taken when enchanting Emily, granddaughter of old chum, Philip, pointed out I came from ‘the Buddy Holly era’.
“You must remember him,” she enthused, waving her ticket for one of next week’s performances of The Buddy Holly Story at the New Theatre. I did – but not from any musical affection. During his brief but highly influential time in the mortal limelight – about 18 months – I was attuned to the now immortal Elvis and our own sainted Cilla.
A song – more of a dirge – written after his death in 1959, forged the introduction. I had been called into the Army, feeling homesick and heartily sick of an ill-fitting battledress. If I needed a drink to ease the burden I had to listen in the NAAFI to the constant replaying of this waffle, containing the words ‘Gee we’re gonna miss you’. Sung by someone best forgotten. It pierced deep. The scars remained. Emily listened to my sad story.
“Time to forgive and forget,” said this winsome 16-year-old. “You should see the show.”
APART from sunburn acquired by choosing not to wear a hat and later getting soaked because the weatherman was half right and I didn’t carry an umbrella, Saturday was wonderful.
I went to the Global Retreat Centre, the magnificent riverside mansion of the Brahma Kumaris at Nuneham Courtenay. It was their Peace in the Park weekend.
What I like about the BKs is they welcome all faiths and no-one rams religion down your throat. There was ample time and space for talks, discussion, meditation and self-assessment, but all seasoned with tolerance with a capital T.
Admission, tea, biscuits and fruit cordials were free and children were entertained. Music played and there was an aura of happiness and togetherness among people, lots on their own – like new friend Sarah from Norwich and me – and many from all parts of the world, meeting for the first time.
With the threat to peace worsening over the weekend, the world at large needed relief if only for a few hours. I was lucky to find it down by the Thames.
‘WHAT a load of nonsense” declared the sour-faced matron from Memphis when she spied the graduation procession making its way to the Sheldonian on Tuesday. “All that dressing up. It’s feudal.”
I was beaten to delivering a rebuke by city street dweller Calvin whose ‘perfume’ that afternoon was not from Debenhams.
“You can always p*** off back to where you come from,” he said firmly. “You don’t have to like it. We do.”
Coarse, but to the point.