Last week I went to see Wolfmother. This week I was corralled into St John’s in Westminster to see the City of London Choir perform Handel’s Te Deum for the Victory of Dettingen.
There was no post-encore smashing of cellos, and the fiddlers didn’t throw their bows into the crowd, but actually it was bloody brilliant. Outstanding in fact.
You’ve got to hand it to Handel. He wrote this Te Deum to mark the victory of British, Hanoverian and Hessian troops over the French near the Bavarian village of Dettingen. George II personally led his forces into battle, the last English monarch to do so. That was in 1743. A quarter of a millennium ago!
Much as I love Wolfmother, will we still be listening to them in 2269?
It makes me think about the permanence of much of what we hold dear. I’ve often thought that I’d die happy if I could leave behind just one thing of some importance. If God would grant me genius for a day I could churn out my Visions of Johanna, or my Great Gatsby or my Ode to Autumn. That’d do me, I’m not ambitious.
Not being blessed with genius, the best we can do is to try to make a difference anyway.
That’s why I like working here. Collectively we are creating something unique, an offering; a collection of skills that you can’t get anywhere else. You know that story about the guy who cleaned the toilets at NASA? He was asked what he did for a living and he said: “I help put men on the moon.”
I feel a bit like that toilet cleaner. I help businesses function better. Until I get my day of genius that’ll keep me happy.
Sorry, I digress. So who wins? Wolfmother or Handel? Wolfmother of course, but that’s because I’m young and permanence isn’t important to me yet. Ask me again in 30 years.