This week has been Sunrise Celebration festival: lots of smiley, friendly people and good brain food. Optimism.
Big Brother 11: lots of smiley, (possibly faux) friendly people and skincare adverts. Enticingly gruesome.
And the World Cup Opening Ceremony: lots of smiley, friendly people and a real tear-jerker moment when children performed the logo finale. Awesome.
Sunrise was such good brain food that I am still writing up my notes*, let alone turning those thoughts into something useful. Freelancers can spend so much time kicking themselves up the backside and backburning projects that don't have an immediate form, that I forget sometimes how useful working with others is for unlocking thoughts and making sense of information. I met some incredible people who jogged my brain cells into life with renewed focus and a laugh. So I suppose I've just come back from the equivalent of an informal summer school with my students, my colleagues, my teachers and my mentors.
Big Brother's return is welcome. I don't hold with the idea it's mindless pap designed to keep us too busy to notice the horrors of life we should be addressing instead. Most people have enough challenges in their lives to be fully in the moment most of the time, but what BB does is to offer something everyone can have an opinion on for the sake of bonding or bantering without causing the sort of heated argument that sex, politics and religion can. We don't have to watch it everyday.
And, although my experience of the football World Cup is likely to be limited to listening to a load of angry bumble bees** in the background. I'm pleased it's here. I wish England's team well and it would be lovely if they could repeat 1966 but meanwhile let's just be happy for the excitement so many are feeling, right now, today. And as someone who was round when apartheid prevented South Africa from competing - it's brilliant that they are hosting. I looked at the closeups of the smiling Black South Africans in the opening ceremony and wondered if any of them were the kids we always saw playing football in a "Blacks Only" park in Johannesburg, twenty years ago. That's the result.
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** It's the hooters. The football is being watched on a screen behind me and all I can hear is ... close your eyes when watching your next match ... Angry bumble bees?!