The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

Last night Darleen and I went to Generator 2. It’s a bit hard to describe the show’s format. It’s sort of TED Talk meets, Music with some performance art thrown in for good measure. We’d been at the inaugural show the year before and as I’m a fan of Cmdr. Hadfield (because excellence should always be championed) it was a foregone conclusion to attend this year and if I’m totally honest, all the years after this that I can.

The line up of guest was impressive with Adam Savage handling the Master of Ceremonies position. I don’t think it’s going too far out on a limb to suppose that all of the American guests were Democrats as there was much apologising on their country’s behalf but more on that in a little bit.

If there is a central theme to the evening, it’s that one person can make big changes in the world around them if they just have the will to try. After an introduction by Adam Savage the evening was kicked off by a young comic with Aspergers Syndrome, Michael McReary. We had the inventor of the, “Lucky Iron Fish,” a cheap and friendly way to help cure iron deficiency and anaemia in the world. Who had the unfortunate task of going on after a young man who decided to clean up the ocean’s plastic garbage patches. I only say unfortunate because, well he’s saving us from ourselves…  You can read all about that at Oceancleanup.com And yes, the problem is way worse than you think.  Amanda Palmer kept the evening light with a great rendition of her Ukulele Anthem.

But like I said, regardless, it was an evening of staying positive and of empowering ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Even if that thing is just going to a place and showing others what’s out there. Giving the rest of the world the sense of how fragile and how tough this planet can be.

Which brings us back to the recent American election. Personally I hoped it wouldn’t go the way it did but that doesn’t matter. The result was democratic and accepted by the system, how things will shake out in the near and far future will be what they will be. I’ve never been one to stand and shout, “The sky is falling!” Until meteorites are raining down all around. Though if Alien spacecraft showed up tomorrow, I wouldn’t be that surprised, it’s been that kind of year.

Which brings us to artists of all stripes and what they represent. In short, there’s a reason during times of political duress, they get locked up, beaten and harassed. It’s because words and images have power. Ideas have power. And,  “They,” know that. You can kill a person, you can make them disappear but their ideas will continue on and in the end defeat their oppressor. Orwell knew this, Huxley too as did anybody who was on the Blacklist. People just chose to ignore the storm warnings as they usually do.

Finally, the ghost of Leonard Cohen was all around last night and as it is with most things, you don’t realise what somebody’s work meant to you until they are gone and so I’d like to finish with one of his poems that was read by Neil Gaiman last night.

Anthem
The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government —
signs for all to see.
I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.
Ring the bells that still can ring …
You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

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