Conflicted. Building Bridges : Building Walls

I made this art at the time of the queen’s diamond jubilee. It feels relevant again today. I’m off to a street party today which is being organised to celebrate her maj’s 90th birthday. I have no interest in her and I could easily choose to stay away. Instead I choose to go. I will absent myself from any formalities and I will hopefully find and enjoy some good company.

When my feelings about difference cause conflict within me, I think of the work of community thinker and activist, Mary Parker Follett, quoted below.

Instead of shutting out what is different, we should welcome it because it is different and through its difference will make a richer content of life… Every difference that is swept up into a bigger conception feeds and enriches society; every difference which is ignored feeds on society and eventually corrupts it.

Being part of a neighbourhood is about being part of a neighbourhood. There is difference. I don’t choose my neighbours and I see evidence that we are very different. For example, it’s obvious that some are going to vote in a different way to me in the upcoming EU referendum. There is similarity too, and I’ll only find that by going to the party.

When I made this art I wrote this about it, ‘It’s clear when you read the headlines that despite all the hype around the Diamond Jubilee, life goes on and our capacity for committing crime and general unpleasantness is the over riding focus for the print media.’

I watched Billy Crystal give his eulogy about Muhammad Ali the other day, and I took this from it. ‘Life is best, when you build bridges between people, not walls.’ I’ll try and play nicely today, and if I find I can’t, I’ll have tried.

Update : So what happened?

I went to the party. I arrived early, helped set things up, lent a hand here and there. I went home while all the formalities unfolded, then returned later with Carole and Keira. We talked and ate and goofed around with neighbours. Hours later we came home and once again I returned to help take things down. Whilst doing this, I was offered a beer and a guitar. I mangled some folk, some country, and some punk. I was made welcome. Everyone I saw wandering up and down our street was made welcome. A few of us are going to an open mic night soon to sing and perform.

The queen’s birthday was the excuse to come together, not the reason.

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