Culture Articles

 

On Monday morning I found myself alone in a friend’s office just waiting. I couldn’t go through his files or use his computer. The view from the window is currently a pile of scaffolding  and a tiny square of sky. Nothing to do. His fellow worker suggested that I make coffee and do something useful while I waited. On the desk was a newspaper, one I don’t usually read. It was open to an article about hospital chapels of all things– one very elaborate one in the Rather fussy Victorian style and the other a very ultra-modern minimalist room with imitation windows. It did however have what looked like comfortable chairs, rather than rigid upright pews with narrow seats.

I saw the modern room as flexible  - you could have added things, made room for a wheelchair, used it for meetings of members of various faiths or none. A useful space.



"When I was just a little girl", do you remember the song? It went, ‘When I was just a little girl I asked  my mother what will I be?’  It is sometimes called ‘Que Sera sera’ and I think the singer was Doris Day. It is about a little girl asking her mother about the future ‘Will I be pretty, will I be rich? ‘


Choosing Promise And Claddagh Rings

If you are going to talk about jewellery that really, really holds significance you need to include the ring. Rings are an ultimate symbol of loyalty. They have been used for centuries to bind agreements with friends, families, lovers, and religion. Their circular shape accentuates their relation to the idea of eternity. There are so many kinds of rings from which to choose, but each has a special story behind it. That is, essentially, why rings make fantastic gifts.


Picture an iceberg in your mind. Imagine, you are on a ship sailing towards that iceberg, which is off in the distance. What exactly do you feel as it looms ever larger? How much of the iceberg is above water and how much of the iceberg is below water?

There are many different metaphors used to describe culture. My favorite one is the iceberg. I think, it demonstrates so vividly what can happen to us if we believe only in the visible and ignore or underestimate the invisible part. Remember the Titanic?

Just as the captain of a ship has to be aware of the underwater part of the iceberg to avoid disaster, we as visitors to other countries have to be aware of the hidden part of culture to minimize frustrations and misunderstandings.

Busking
Buskers at Covent Garden

Busking is a part of British culture and has been since the days of the travelling minstrel, a medieval entertainer who travelled from place to place, especially to sing and recite poetry.  For every famous pop singer or band you may have heard of, there are thousands of street performers and buskers who ply their art on the streets, and in the pubs,  markets and squares of Britain.  Covent Garden is just one of these places.  This article written by Rex Boyd, charts the history of street performers in Covent Garden. (Reproduced with permission).

The written history of street performers at Covent Garden goes back to the 1600s, but the scene in its current state dates from the late 1970s, when the covered fruit and vegetable market underwent its transformation into a tourist site. As a regularly worked busking pitch, its only rival world-wide would have to be the Pompidou Center in Paris. As an influence on the English speaking world of street performers, I would say that it is in a class of its own. Sure, there are nicer places to work. Sure, there are legendary festivals that we all dream of playing, but Covent Garden is worked by street performers nearly every day of the year. Many of these performers make the majority of their money working nowhere else. And likewise, many of them have been performing at Covent Garden regularly for 10 years or more.