Thursday, October 14, 2010

Watching with the world

There are some events good or bad, which transcend national barriers.  Walking on the moon, 9/11, the Asian Tsunami, some sporting events.  Yesterday the whole world held its breath as they watched one of those events, as 33 men were delivered back to the world after more than 65 days underground.  They travelled up through an unimaginably small constricted shaft crafted by human ingenuity and love - yes, there seemed to be an outpouring, a no-cost-spared unconditional love extended to the miners and their plight, which we all shared.

This was a thoroughly modern rescue, with Flickr sets of the miners as they emerged.  We'd got to know the stories from a collective mugshot of the sort normally only seen on crimewatch. It was, as someone remarked, big brother, but this time, we care. 

The story of the first isolated 17 days of the drama has yet to be told in detail, but it is clear that they must have had iron wills to eke out the small stores they had down there to keep themselves alive.  The President (a billionaire! the BBC kept reporting, as though they thought he might have better things to do than to wait) was glowing with pride, as the men were brought up to the surface.  Even the liguistically talented Tim of the BBC couldn't dent his joy, which seemed genuine and despite his job, unaffected. 

I watched the rescue for hours at a time, crying and rejoicing with each man that was rescued, vicariously experiencing the rapture of the families whose men were returned from the depths below.

There are questions to be asked in the coming weeks about the dark record of mining around the world, the lack of health and safety protection in Chile, but in China and other countries too, but yesterday was pure celebration, that 33 men trapped underground were rescued because their families, Chile and the world wouldn't let them down and wouldn't leave them to their fate.  I felt proud to be human, and that doesn't happen often.

Perhaps the President is right, and this event has put Chile on the map, so that Americans and Europeans don't vaguely indicate South America when asked where Chile is.  Perhaps it has raised the profile of the country and of his presidency. I don't know, and I don't think that is important.  For today is for celebrating, for hugging and appreciating your nearest and dearest... and seeking out those cool shades which made every one of them look like a film star, and not a trapped miner released to the surface.  It is rumoured that the advertising value to Oakley shades is about 40 million dollars, and I shouldn't be the least surprised.  On each occasion the BBC showed the mugshot of a Chilean miner before the disaster, and then the live footage showed someone -young, old and inbetween - whose appearance was radically improved, whether by loss of weight or the sunglasses, who looked amazing.  If they don't suddenly become popular all over the world, I shall be very surprised.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goodbye to Berlin Classic Serial

I listened to the Classic serial on Radio 4 over the weekend, which was Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin, which was the book that Caberet was based upon.  It was good, although quite different from Caberet in tone and atmosphere. It was in two parts, and they're both available for a few days more on the iplayer.

I was particuarly taken with the piece of music at the end of the play, and so listened to see if they gave a credit to the composer or musicians.  Although a pianist was mentioned, I realised that this couldn't account for the music at the end.  I searched the web page for the play, which credited the actors, the sound designer and producer... but made no mention of the music.

I haven't been a big a fan of Radio4 facebook, mainly because of the changes to the iplayer, which I hate... but when I posted the question about the music from the play, Steve from Radio4 facebook said he would try to find out what it was, and duly returned with the details.  In the past when I have enquired about music used in BBC productions I have been unable to get the details, so I was very impressed.  Thank you, Steve!

The music is from an album called Menschen am Sonntag by Trio Bravo, and their official website is here.  You can hear the music on Spotify, and buy it in the usual places. I love Vorspann particularly, which is the piece heard right at the end of the play when the credits are read.