Saturday, January 22, 2005

Old Friends

One of the indulgences I allowed myself following the arrival of Christmas money was the purchase of the new Simon and Garfunkel live CD - my main disappointment being that I never realised they were touring Europe until I read the newspaper report of the London concert. It is even more disappointing because it is probably my last chance to have heard them together. Let's hope I'm proved wrong.

The CD itself is absolutely fantastic. Their voices may not be quite as strong as in the past, although Simon's in particular holds up very well. And although some of the higher parts of the harmonies are a little stretched, the performance is still a cut above many well-heralded, more modern bands.

For me at least, the major achievement of the concert was that it really conveyed a sense of enjoyment. Despite being some of the most familiar songs of their generation and beyond, Simon and Garfunkel sounded fresh. They were bringing something new to songs - nothing much, but enough to make the whole thing a very enjoyable listen.

The point that I think I want to make from this, therefore, is that in everything we do, we run a risk of saturation. The cricketers of England and South Africa look absolutely shattered in the current Test match - no wonder, as they are into their 5th five-day match in little more than a month. My interest in the Premiership has subsided as the intensive and intrusive media coverage increased. I even began to feel fatigued at the coverage of the tsunami relief effort - little new was being reported, but the intensity of reporting stayed the same.

The problem with new communications is that whilst they greatly increase the opportunities for everyone, they can become overbearing. Simon Armitage's Millennium Poem writes about a monkey never satisfied until he gets fed the news - and his sarcastic ending is about a West Yorkshire village where one week, nothing happened at all. An incident room was set up at the scene, and security cameras installed.

Instead, we should learn to appreciate that not everything is able to come at the touch of a button. That some things are indeed worth waiting for - that having everything you want, when you want it isn't a totally desirable end. Indeed, waiting for things a while can make them even better. The fact that Simon and Garfunkel hadn't toured together for years certainly made their last concerts all the more memorable.