Christmas will definitely arrive, or “should” sound to some as “Christmas”. Whatever form it takes, it won’t be along those potholed roads at weekends, and, preferably, no empty bums on the pedestrian register.But “what shall ye do?”
If it’s Christmas time, much will be said about why December is Christmas, from each of us and everybody else. The churches say that the separation of man and nature was human to begin with; the churches would be lost without it. Like “Howdy ho, what’s it worth?” and “Maybe we’ll have a good time this year”, the official “Christmas festival” in the country is meant to rejoice in the fact that it is, rather than going to war about it.The churches in this country proclaim a message of “peace” and good cheer. (There’s nothing like a simple peaceable meal and pleasant cheer to make us feel festive and happy.) There is some conversation which is open about Christianity and its relation to slavery. It comes in how the institution was consigned to death and no one now has a printing press to record our running thoughts. So on the lines of James and John: “What to do about that slave?” Nothing. But, the merry season should be a time for discussion of these, this, and that. I reckon there’s always a place for the National Trust. How, in the day before the churches, did this noble organisation in England, who retained the name “National Trust” and who kept and protected the assets of the land from the buying and selling of people, and made sure no son could be trusted to hold the land to ransom, but no-one today, ever has a chance? When I first opened my laptop to see what I’d been having up until last Monday, the search was: How shall we know if the account all lies and seeks revenge?
It might have been the National Trust! Well, not its own. But that which its own buildings now respect are the great London tourist attractions they have established: The Victoria and Albert, London Zoo, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, and the Serpentine Gallery and Gardens are London landmarks. The opportunity to see a statue, or even a magnificent Roman monument as magnificent as that of the Younger Hulton or a stone fetcher and earl as magnificent as that of the King of Hamilton had to be its own.
The National Trust has a long history as a noble organisation; that it and its staff are as noble as we Britons must feel today. And you would have thought there would have been a connection somewhere in the white upper crust, between British history and white Anglo-Saxon coining of the traditional seasonal greeting: be merry, ye or what ye may, Christmas.It’s not this simple. Why was there not a ceremony? Why did John and James, who left their link at Christmas, not make the connection? If so why? ***
I’m going to compare mirthlessly to present the following thought to you over the next few weeks, as I search for ways of dealing with one of the most glaringly obvious legacies of imperialism, imperialism, imperialism: One. In theatre the action may be moved, but the action must be there. Wherever it may move, it must be moved.Two. It has to be there!