My, my, how time flies! In conversation at tea the other day it came up that it is nine years since Chris was in Athens producing the demo disc of ‘La Belle Otero’ and nine years since my visit to Australia and South Africa. The times coincide because I remember the disc was delivered to me in Cape Town. If it takes an act of God in convocation with all his angels and archangels to get an original straight play produced, what does it take to get a musical on? Maybe the cherubim and seraphim have to cast their vote as well. I doubt very much now that it will be produced in my lifetime but, after about thirty years of gestation, at least I have had the satisfaction of writing it and knowing it contains some of my best work. When one thinks of the number of revivals in the West End and over the years the number of really bad musicals that deserved to flop, one can’t but have a slight feeling of despair; the latest evidently being ‘Spiderman’ of course.
A slight feeling of despair also talking about time and some folks’ reaction to times they are a changing, refusing to acknowledge this fact and harking back, indeed even trying to go back in time, an impossibility. Apart from Mistress Palin I refer in particular to another sympathiser and pet of the Tea Party lot, Michele Bachmann who has put herself forward as a possible Republican candidate for the 1012 presidential election. What are her policies? Well she is all in favour of family, friends, and neighbours and dead set against abortion, expensive healthcare (as she puts it) and gay marriage. Evidently you ought to rely on family and friends to get you out of any trouble you may be in and not rely on any government aid. She wants America to go back to more simple ways which is a bit like Canute trying to push back the waves. Ms Bachmann said she was announcing her candidacy because she was "so profoundly grateful for the blessing I have received, both from God and this great country." Evidently she is a born-again Christian and, as I think I said once before, look what happened the last time one of those sat in the White House. "More than ever, Washington is the problem,” she says “and the real solutions will come from our businesses, our communities, our schools and the most basic and powerful unit of all-our families.
Americans agree that our country is in peril today and we must act with urgency to save it," Ms Bachmann added.
Can family and friends really be relied on in all circumstances when someone is in grave difficulties? Some can of course but not all and not at all times and this “basic and powerful unit” as she calls it has too often in itself been the cause of producing some pretty sick people in this world, as any psychiatrist will tell you. Of course one fervently wishes that all marriages and families were sweetness and light but I am afraid that simply is not the real world even if Ms Bachmann would like it to be.
And what would happen if abortion (there’s nothing new about abortion) was made illegal again? Backstreet abortion with all the pain and dangers it entails would be back to take its place as in the good old bad old days.
And finally gay marriage. In my opinion it is a great pity that gays and lesbians wishing to be recognised as a couple have used the word ‘marriage.’ It was bound to create antagonism among the straights even if fairly liberal and not exactly homophobic. I’m reminded of an old joke about a gay walking down the street and seeing a prostitute touting for trade yelling out, ‘Hello prostitute!’ to which she replies, ‘Hello substitute!’ That is very much a straight joke. It would have been much more politic to have used a word like ‘union’ rather than ‘marriage’ which immediately caused outrage among “decent people.” So if Ms Bachmann had her way and gay marriage was abolished what purpose would it serve? Come on Ms Bachmann, are there not far more pressing problems in this world to worry about than getting your knickers in a twist over gay marriage? Homosexuality after all has been with us since the beginning of time, is not as extraordinary or uncommon as wishful thinking bigots would like to believe, and homosexuals when all is said and done are not conjured out of thin air or brought into existence by magic. They have fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents. They are the result of heterosexual marriages, of what you call that basic and powerful unit – the family. So, Ms Bachmann, what do you make of it? Had that never occurred to you? Roll over Anita Bryant.