No more telly (well...)

One of the side-effects of my son’s arrival last month is that I’ve watched almost no television. Even Freya seems to be getting bored with children’s programming, switching off after an average of two shows to paint or play games. I’ve managed to watch two episodes of the excellent Wallander (original Swedish version, series one) and some Proms on the BBC.

I love the Proms and for the last couple of years have subscribed to the BBC’s text message reminders. Each day I get a message telling me what’s being played, by whom and at what time. Even with this to help I’ve still been too busy doing dad things, or my own music (or sleeping) to listen to everything.

The other night, after a note from an online friend I found I had almost missed something very special indeed. I’m a big fan of the music of Arvo Part (along with, I suspect, millions of others) but I’d missed the UK premier of his 4th Symphony. This has started life as a commission for a “ten minute string piece” but came back as Part’s first symphony in over thirty years. I used the BBC’s iPlayer to watch the performance and sat back in awe of this beautiful, aching music.

As an extra bonus Part was briefly interviewed (which doesn’t happen often) and appeared at the end of the concert to take some of the applause. I haven’t been to a Prom in a few years but I could sense the emotion in the air. This humble looking 75 year old man acknowledging nothing short of love – and lots of it.

The BBC regularly takes a knocking from the UK’s increasingly partisan press but just look at what it gave us here. A staggering series of concerts, played by some of the finest musicians alive, with no annoying advertising. And what’s more we get a device (the iPlayer) which allows to keep up with the things missed because our new son managed to pee dramatically over himself, myself and the cat.


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