A matter of life and death
I had an amazing time at the LIANZA #open17 conference in Christchurch earlier this week. I'm still very much sifting though a whole bunch of thoughts, but a few things keep bubbling their way to the surface. My belief in the absolute importance of stories and storytelling has been reinforced once again, and on a more personal level I'm reevaluating how I think about music (as in I always think I'm not that into music but is this actually true?). I'm also having thoughts about how I share my feelings and about the nature of grief.
I'm still coming out the the LIANZA bubble of fluffiness, but all of the above is making me think about a time a high collided with a tragic event. I used to do a lot of amateur dramatics, generally behind the scenes but I have trod the boards, including a memorable turn as the Fairy of Happiness in Mother Goose. About 15 years ago we did a show of pop songs from the 70s to the noughties. I was Executive Stage Manager, which really meant wrangling people, opening and closing the curtains and singing along in the wings. The songs we sang still make me smile - Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, You've Lost That Loving Feeling (try as we might we never did find it), Angels, Two Become One, Thank You for the Music (aka Spank You for the Music), Tragedy (I did at one point get banned from dancing to this in my bikini top - a costume for another show) etc.
On the first night a poplar local man came to see the show. Let's call him Ed. It turned out he was suffering from terminal cancer. We all went to the pub that night and Ed bought everyone a drink. At one point he told us how he loved everybody, which I always thought was very courageous. Skip forward to the last night. We'd had a great run and were looking forward to partying. Ed came to see the show again. I had just bought a couple of drinks and had gone backstage when there was a commotion. Ed had collapsed. The theatre was in the middle of nowhere and the ambulance took a long time to arrive, although I don't think there was anything they could have done. Ed had died, on the stage. Backstage myself and others had armfuls of sobbing tweens and teenagers. At that time it was the closest I - and probably many others - had come to death. Many of us went to the funeral and a week or to later we held a memorial concert.
I don't really know that I have any conclusions to make except to say that in the GLAMR sector we are often so close to life and death, and everything we do is layered with meaning. Also thank you LIANZA for making me think different.
"And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
"These fragments I shore against my ruins."