Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Marching, Music and Mauritius

So, continuing to research Mauritius and its wildlife, I have been going through the transcripts of several interviews I did with the conservationist Gerald Durrell, who you will probably know either through his books or through the  TV series "The Durrells of Corfu."  Here is a photo of him and his wife Lee which accompanied one of my articles. I think this picture conveys what good company he was.  


Mauritius and its wildlife fascinated Durrell.  When the remote Indian Ocean island was discovered in the 17th century it was uninhabited by man and full of extraordinary animals and plants that had evolved in isolation, almost like the Galapagos. Unfortunately, human beings arrived in Mauritius before anyone had heard of conservation, and so now only fragments remain of the original wonderful plants, birds, animals and reptiles. Durrell used the Dodo, the island's most famous extinct bird, as a symbol of Durrell Wildlife Trust and the zoo which he founded in Jersey. And very good work is now being done in Mauritius to conserve and re-wild ecosystems that are left.

Sadly, Durrell died in 1995.  The transcripts provided quotes for my articles, but most of them have never been published. Reading through them again after all these years, I often laughed out loud - he was so witty. I've also some found some more unexpected treasures. During one interview he mentioned a piece of music, since our interview was being held within sound of church bells ringing the changes, very loudly and very distractingly, outside.

I didn't look the music up at the time, but this time I did, and here it is!  It's called The Bells of St. Genevieve. It was written in 1723 by the French composer Marin Marais, who was being driven totally mad by his local church bells in Paris, and needed to write the piece to get his head straight.    I love its powerful hypnotic sound. What do you think?



Apart from spending hours on Durrell and Mauritius, I went on the People's Vote March in London last Saturday with various members of my family, including my cousin who came down from Rutland. 

What an incredible march it was.  I go on very few marches, but this reminded me of the march against the Iraq War, - the huge numbers of people were packed side by side across all four lanes of Park Lane and hardly able to move because more and more came flocking in.  When we finally reached Piccadilly - after two hours - the crowds stretched front and back as far as the eye could see.  

I took lots of photos but as the nearby Rinky Dink Bicycle Powered Sound System launched into another number, my camera was drawn to the dear little girl on the left who is one of the people I remember best from the march.


  Her joy and pleasure were infectious. 
   

 It was great the way that so many workers in nearby shops and cafes and street vendors waved at us, and even staff in the department store where we went to have a coffee afterwards, gave us the thumbs up when saw our badges.  Even the busker in the tube on the way home was covered in stickers advertising the march!   

Truth is that most people in Britain, whatever their views on Brexit, are exhausted and horrified at the way it is going, and many people just want to forget it.  So it was wonderful to see that folk of all ages, old, young and even disabled people on walking frames or in wheelchairs,  made the effort to come, not only from Britain and Ireland but also from further afield. I spoke with English citizens that had travelled that day from both France and Holland. They said they were not allowed a vote in the original referendum yet their lives are being turned upside down by Brexit,

 Revised numbers are that about 700,000 people turned up and nobody we met or saw in that huge crowd was angry or nasty, the weather was beautiful, the music was good,and the atmosphere was great, so, even though it's a very serious topic, we all agreed it was a fun day that we will remember for years.  

30 comments:

  1. Hello Jenny, Marais was always a favorite. His Tombeau de Lully has something of the quality of the Bells, but a little more relaxing and meditative. I have quite a few LP's with his music but unfortunately, they are all buried in storage. I am hopeful that one day I will get to hear all my old records again.
    --Jim

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  2. I hope Brexit fades away in due course.

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  3. If only the ineffectual leaders of both parties were to become Dodo's all would be well...

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  4. I would love to read those transcripts! I love his writing and I'm sorry but the BBC series did not do him worthiness. That's what I thought, anyway.
    Beautiful pictures of that march. That little girl- yes.
    And that music? Oh my. It IS mesmerizing.

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  5. I haven't the inclination or strength for marching but I praise those who do. Not that I like what they march for though, since I was all for leaving things as they were. Brexit is becoming a dirty word, according to my neighbours. I pass! However, I enjoyed reading about your time with the wonderful Gerald Durrell. Was it so long ago!

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  6. I couldn’t make the march - thank you for marching for all of us.
    So why isn’t the BBC not talking more about a People’s Vote - The Today Programme interviews all shades of Brexit opinions but has been almost entirely silent on the possibility of us changing our minds.

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  7. Even though we should know better than to mess with ecosystems, we sometimes don't seem to be doing better in many cases. Good for Mauritius for trying to undo as much damage as they can, and blessings upon the likes of Mr. Durrell.

    That music inspired by church bells is quite hypnotic to me.

    You are right about that little girl's joy at the day being infectious. Not being from Britian, i do not presume to say what should or should not happen in the country's politics, i simply pray that the best possible outcome for all will happen.

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  8. People are very frustrated and divided over here in the US right now so voting is top priority. (Already did early by mail.) That little girl has a smile that is just infectious! So nice to hear it was a huge crowd and they were all well-behaved and kind to each other. :) :) I am listening to the hypnotic music as I am typing.

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  9. A wonderful post, Jenny.

    I loved watching "The Durrells"...it's a lovely series. How terrific it was you got to meet Gerald Durrell. His personality shines through in the photo. :)

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  10. It says a lot about the participants that the march went so peaceful, with no nasty incidents. I am not comfortable when a big crowd closes around me, it makes me feel unsafe and I wonder what if a panic breaks out, and of course I am always aware of the possibility of a pickpocket and make sure my handbag can not be easily opened or snatched from me. So, hats off to you for joining the march!
    My sister and I were supposed to be in Yorkshire right now but have cancelled our holiday because our Dad is in hospital. We hope to make it to Ripon again next spring but are wondering whether we will need a visum then!

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  11. I'm sure those Durrell transcripts are a priceless source of creative inspiration. It's so fortunate that you have them. It was a treat to hear the music of Marin Marais especially because I have heard so little of it.
    And it's also a treat to see happy, peaceful people marching ( a very rare occurrence nowadays!).

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  12. Hello, I've been away from the computer off and on all summer so when I came to visit your blog I had a lot to catch up on. I always enjoy your posts and the interesting information you provide. I read back a few posts and I'm anxious to find out what your new project involves. I'm quite sure it is going to be interesting. Glad to see you are busy and still finding new things to share with us. (I liked the post with the horses)

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  13. You are so lucky to have met Gerald Durrell. I am so enjoying the PBS series right now.
    Wonderful post today.

    cheers, parsnip and badger

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  14. It was wonderful to hear that so many people attended the march, that so many people are horrified by the possible economic and personal implications of Brexit that they desperately want a second vote.

    Good to know Mauritius is trying to conserve what remains of its ecosystem.

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  15. What a privilege to have met the Durrells! I grew up with his books and loved them but I didn’t know about his love of Mauritius. Will you publish a book of your interviews with him? As for the march, I am one of those who was not allowed to vote. I wish I’d been there. It sounds as if it was an inspiring day. I’ve had to apply for Dutch citizenship to make sure of my position here, but even that’s taking an age and is loaded with uncertainty.

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  16. Love the music and your comments about the march. Our news about other portions of the world is scant unless it involves violence these days...I also liked Durrell's books and wish I could read your transcripts. Thanks for the post.

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  17. Good music has a special power to ease us anytime. I hope you have a fine weekend.

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  18. I loved Gerald Durrell his books were wonderful. He was so ahead of his time bless him.
    Glad you had a great time on the march. Yes it certainly is more like a dog's Breaxit! Can't get my head around what made people think it would be a simple thing to achieve leaving the EU but they've made the biggest mess anyone could have.

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  19. this couple you interviewed looks friendly and happy dear Jenny!

    this is wonderful job to meet and interview different people active in various fields of life

    you should publish your interesting experiences i must say :)


    thank you for bringing joy in my day by sharing this bubbly little girl dancing with joy and waving at you so joyously :)

    common man wants to live a normal life away from dirt of politics and well of cheapness

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  20. The Durrells of Corfu has finally begun to air here, I am loving it's humour- excellent story line. And yes, that little girl would be the happiest focus of the day! So pleased that there are so many folks on the same page- so very uplifting!- I have been gone and am just catching up with blog world- loving your posts!!

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  21. I didn't hear about People's Vote March, Jenny. As I understand these people do not want Brexit, don't they? It's importent you took part in this march, if you think the same.
    The photo of a little girl is amazing.

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  22. The whole world seems to be in a wave of extremism and xenophobia. It’s doscouraging. I hope the march does soon good.

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  23. As always your post was post of many parts. As a former campanologist (if only for a relatively short period) I love the sound of well-rung bells. Unfortunately Marais wrote before my preferred musical period and I would rather have listened to the bells. As so often in the past you have caught a beautiful moment in time with you picture of the child.

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  24. Just listening to the music. Baroque music never fails to amaze me. So many things supposedly "invented" later happened then. On one hand, the way so much of it works is incredibly like jazz. On the other, I was astonished to find a piece of Bach a while back that was almost all strictly serial! In this case, minimalism. They were a creative lot.

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  25. Dear Jenny, At the risk of sounding like an overbearing American, could you not write a book about Gerald Durrell? Come on, it would be so good! Happy you got to march, looked like a happy group. Can't listen to the music just now but will come back to this post later. Take care! Love, Kay

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  26. So interesting to learn this about Gerald Durrell and also the peaceful marsh. Voters on this side of the pond are plagued by disinformation and deliberate distortions. Hope all works out well for you and especially Ireland.

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  27. Mr. and Mrs. Darrel look relaxing in the comfortable living room, but I always feel strange to see people wearing shoes in the room though knowing about cultural difference. The cute little girl dancing on her mother’s shoulder seems to symbolize how the march went peaceful. We can’t turn the clock back but have to see the consequences. Right now I’m watching the result of American mid-term election. I’m worried about the world tendency; either right wing or left wing, when it goes to extremes, it will become fascism.

    Yoko

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  28. Finally catching up on all your posts! And I love this one, learning more about Gerald Durrell and Mauritius. And I'm so glad you posted the music bit -- it's really quite a lovely piece and both Rick and I enjoyed listening to it.

    Loved the photos from the March. It sounds like just the way you would want it to be. I hope people heard and will take a bit of action. I don't know how optimistic to feel but all those hopes are there...

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  29. love the music. thank you for sharing.
    have a great day.

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  30. Thanks for your comment on my post. It becomes colder day by day. Please take good care.

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