Nice Non-Denominational Holiday

I’m Dreaming of a Nice Non-Denominational Holiday

A few nights ago I was at a local Amateur Theatre – Nuworks – which my oldest daughter has been involved with.

She was in a recent show that was put on by Nuworks and with any luck she will be involved in more productions next year.  They do some wonderful things, so if you’re in Melbourne, please check it out.

And their Warm Beef Rolls are delicious !

The other night was the Nuworks Theatre annual Christmas Review – essentially a summary of the year that was.  They did some scenes and songs from the various productions that they have put on over the past year and it was really fantastic.Guitar_b&w

There were some serious pieces, some comedy, some music, some dancing, some singing and some excellent musical theatre on display.  The acting and singing and musicianship from the performers of all ages was very impressive indeed.

One of the comedy sketches in particular was very funny. But it got me thinking.

The scene was a guitarist and a singer who came out on stage to sing the classic “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” made famous by Bing Crosby many years ago when life was in black and white.

They started the song, but soon after the first line the guitarist stopped the song under the pretence of being offended by the word “White” and its implications and insinuations.

So, as part of the skit, the singer agreed to substitute the word “White” with the word “Nice”.

They started the song again, but again the guitarist interrupted by pretending to be offended by the religious implications of the word “Christmas”, given that he does not celebrate Christmas as such, and an amusing disagreement ensued.

A final compromise was made by substituting the word “Christmas” with “Non Denominational Holiday”.

I should point out here that this was made all the more amusing by the fact that the guitarist was a well-known TV, Radio and print media personality and political commentator (who is actually a really amazing guitarist as well) here in Australia.  His well-publicised Muslim beliefs combined with his dark skin and his tolerance for religious / political ideologies whilst upholding a “do unto others” philosophy is both wonderful and relevant in our unfortunately troubled world.

So, the skit continued, sung to the correct tune, but the words were changed so as to be politically correct.  In the end, the singer managed to “sneak” in the last mention of “White Christmas”, and he ran off stage, being chased by the guitarist.

It was very funny.

However, it did get me thinking about the world and the disturbing events of the year.

My thoughts have been diverted – as has the thoughts of many around the world – to a school full of children in Pakistan.  I’ve been thinking about 2 people in a café in Sydney, Australia.  I’ve been thinking about a guard in Ottawa, Canada, about a soldier in London, about journalists in Syria and Iraq and about a plane load of people in the Ukraine.

All of these people, and many more not mentioned here, were very simply and unluckily at the wrong place at the wrong time.  I feel for them, for their families and for those who they have left behind.

Now, it can be argued that these people did not come home after a very small handful of horrible and mentally disturbed individuals ruined their day, and the day of millions of people around the world, to put it mildly.

It can be argued that the work of these terrorists is purely that of individuals and not of some enormous organised religious movement(s).

It can also be argued that 99.99999% of the worlds population is astounded and dismayed by these events.  And I agree with this argument.

So, I have been pleased and touched by the news of a trending hashtag on Twitter and presumably various other social media: #IllRideWithYou.

The premise with this is that if you are worried, or frightened, or concerned by recent events and feel threatened by anyone at all, the people who are spreading this hashtag will sit with you on the bus, or on the train.

They will ensure you are not alone, that you are safe, that you are cared for and that you are a valued member of the community.  They are going out of their way to show that it does not matter what clothes you are wearing, it is irrelevant what your beliefs might be.

It is, in my opinion, a beautiful and caring way to stand up against the few nut cases who spoil it for the rest of us.

“Be Excellent to Each Other”.

Interestingly, the guitarist who featured in the comedy sketch mentioned above wrote a piece in the main newspapers along similar lines which was published a few days after the show mentioned above.  I found it after I had started writing this post.  In it he discussed similar thoughts and feelings to what I have been trying to convey here.

I am at a loss as to why there are people around the world from all back grounds and walks of life who feel the need to resort to extreme and shocking violence.  While it sounds extremely flippant, and makes me sound like a simplistic fool, I don’t understand why don’t they calm down, take a chill pill and relax ?  Is the answer “because of their obvious mental illness” ?

I get angry, I get upset, I feel strongly about issues and events.  But I (and the vast majority of the population of our planet) don’t feel the need to shoot people or blow things up to make my point.

And, closer to home…. In fact within my home, it would appear that someone has stolen my youngest daughters money box.  It was a pink plastic moneybox in the shape of a ballet slipper and it contained approximately $80 – a small fortune for an 11 year old which represents many, many months of pocket money savings.  Yes, as her father I am lucky to be in the position to replace the cash for her, but that is not the point.  The point is that someone we invited into our home – a “friend” of either of my two daughters most likely – appears to have taken the opportunity to pocket the moneybox.

What on earth is going on ?

I am feeling unhappy, disturbed and disappointed about global, national and extremely local events.

I have started to take a leaf out of my daughters’ handbooks and listen to my own calming music as well as that of the other calming music musicians I am fortunate to have met through this blog and through other means.

I have started to deliberately set aside time to just stop and try to still my mind, with the help of the music.  It is certainly helping me anyway.

So, while the comedy sketch I saw last night on the local amateur theatre stage was very funny, the message I got out of it was quite simply a re-iteration of Bill and Ted’s futuristic motto of “Be Excellent to Each Other”.

Very wise words indeed.

In keeping with the comedic theme of quite a depressing thought process, Eric Idle of Monty Python fame wrote a song called “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.  I have been whistling the riff from this song over the last few days and have chosen it to be my theme song for whenever I need to give myself a little cheering up.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, whether you are religious or not, whether you wear jeans and T-shirts or Burqas, head scarves and robes – I honestly and sincerely hope that you dream of a Nice Non-Denominational Holiday and that you have an Excellent and Happy New Year.

Thanks,
Matthew.

 

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