For more than twenty years, P.J. Moore (centre) was the keyboard player with The Blue Nile. More than that, he provided them with much of their distinctive sound and ambience. Sadly he is no longer part of the band. However he has embarked on several projects of his own. Last year a friend (Helpless Dancer in fact) and I went to the Edinburgh home of renowned Scottish 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell for a unique audio and visual experience. Maxwell’s discoveries in the field of electro magnetism laid the foundations for many other scientists’ work, including that of Albert Einstein. P.J. had put together a 3-D visual presentation, a celebration of the work of Maxwell, which he accompanied on keyboard assisted by a string quartet and his own narration. It was a very unusual and memorable performance – stunning in fact. One of the pieces, “Curl” can be heard HERE (a tip is that I couldn’t hear anything on firefox but it does work in IE7) . I recommend putting headphones on and closing your eyes for this.
The superb Mr. J.J. Cale with Travellin’ Light and Devil in Disguise. The term laid back could have been invented for him. What a sound here with just some accoustic guitars (no plectrum for JJ), bass, keyboard, bongos, basic percussion and vocals. From 1994
If you are a muslim then please look away now. In fact don’t bother because the chances are that if you ARE a muslim, this picture and the advertising campaign thereof will bother you not one whit. And yet in the city of the Sunday Post there was a fair old stushie kicked up about the matter this week. The police in Dundee had successfully hitherto employed the German Shepherd pup “Rebel” as a way of connecting with children. Schoolkids had given the dog its name. There is a DIARY which records Rebel’s progress which has had up to 20,000 hits per day.
And yet this week Dundee Police issued an apology in case the campaign or more importantly this poster had offended muslims. Like many people I come in to contact with Asian folk mainly through their retail businesses. People like David (not a made up name but his adopted western one) who is a muslim and owns the corner shop near to me. David has no problem selling greetings cards with pictures of cute dogs on them. But then he’ll just as readilly smile as he takes payment for some tins of Pedigree Chum or indeed a pack of bacon or pork sausages. I have just hired a company to do balloon decorations at our upcoming silver wedding celebration. The guys who own the shop are Scots/Asian and I think muslim (although in all my dealings with them the subject of religion hasn’t come up). They are good guys with a great sense of humour. Ali owns the restaurant where Mrs B and I go for a businessman’s lunch on our day off. Nice guy and I know he looks after my old mother when she goes to have meal with her friends too.If any of these people were offended by a wee dog on a poster I would be very, very surprised.
So which muslims WOULD be offended by the depiction of a dog? Certainly not the German Shepherd Club of Pakistan ! The point is that the ‘apology’ by the Dundee police will do much more harm than good. It is similar to the situation in Birmingham a couple of years ago when Christmas decorations and trees (in fact a pagan symbol) were removed in case they offended muslims. All this does is fuel yet more anti muslim feeling.
I did hear one young muslim interviewed this week who WAS apparently offended. In a piece of no doubt unintended irony she said “I mean, this is the twenty first century”. Indeed it is and yet here we are issuing apologies to a tiny section of people who live according to a social code dreamed up in Mecca in the sixth century.
Am I alone in thinking that the Dundee Police response should have been “Our campaign involving Rebel has had community-wide support and will continue as it has been very successful. There was no intention to offend anyone”?
Really if we have to take account of every hair brained religious view as we go about our daily lives we really are doomed.
Right if you’ll excuse me I have to go and feed my dog. And then wash my hands seven times.