Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year questions

Festive aftermath
No public transport, and many regulars away meant that this Sunday, New Year's Day, there was no public transport, and many regulars were away, so regular congregations were half the usual numbers. The streets were quieter than usual, and unusually still unswept after last night's revels. In St John Street two alarms were sounding when I arrived for the eight o'clock Eucharist. They were still sounding, unattended, eleven hours later, after Evensong, my fourth service of the day. It's hardly an advertisement for the security companies responsible for their maintenance. I wonder if the Council's enforcement troops will take them to task for such a prolonged assault on noise abatement laws, as they did for the silly singing Santas. The selectivity with which enforcement is applied is amazing. Thankfully, such alarms serve only to protect commercial merchandise and not some product whose theft would be capable of inflicting serious social damage. The fun fair continues tonight, but is more muted than last night. I got the impression yesterday that evening numbers were down on previous years, though there was a rush of vehicles into town and people gathering around the stage between City Hall and the Police Station, around 11h45, just to see the New Year in. Apparently there was also a New Year party at the Millennium Stadium as well. It'll be interesting to see if both together did as well as in previous years.

Devil's Advocate
There have been lots of large popular events on-street or in the Stadium this year, for one cause or another. Does there reach a stage at which the hassle of getting to such a happening outweighs the significance and excitement they generate? Are their audiences destined steadily to whittle down to those who like formulaic events, booze and food, precision marketed, wrapped in suitably bland sentiments. Wales can't win the Grand Slam or host a major Tom Jones birthday celebration all that often. The next acid test is the Millennium Stadium One Earth Concert to mobilise action against global warming on 28th January. A pop star studded event is promised with contributions from the Manic Street Preachers, the Darkness, the Strokes and the Super Furry Animals. Fan loyalties will ensure a substantial crowd and considerable media coverage, but how will it touch those with their hands on the levers of power or those who influence them? In what sense will it be a Green concert, given the guaranteed volume of disposable food consumption devices. And given the New Year's Eve experience, how many emission producing kilowatts of electricity will be consumed on making the sound of all these bands unbearably, ear damagingly loud? Aren't there other ways of promoting such a good life-saving cause?

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