Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Day in the Life

Ever heard The Beatles song, A Day in the Life? Well, from the gentle sliding opening bars, to the tumultuous final, drawn out E-chord, it’s a chilling snapshot of the news.

“I read the news today, oh boy…”

There’s a promising young man who is killed in his car, strange potholes appearing all over Lancashire, and general confusion as the newsreader stumbles through life with his alarm clock hounding him.

“And though the news was rather sad…”

This past week has been an apocalyptic mess of news. Perhaps the past month. From every angle, the “stories” have been churned out by journalists, with sub-editors vying for the most clever or succinct headlines. Here’s my own “Day in the Life”:

A tyrant was said to be cowering in a bunker as rebel forces pounded his compound with heavy artillery. He wasn’t cowering, but appeared later on to call on his supporters to “kill the rebels like rats”. He’s a mass murderer, but news commentators discussed his penchant for silk robes and his choice in headgear. Gaddafi remains free.

Some rhinos were savaged by poachers, who cut off their horns, cut them brutally, and left them for dead, only they weren’t. Vets and animal enthusiasts wept, and wondered, why?

A bus overloaded with children slipped into a river near Knysna, killing many. They’d had nothing on their minds except playing soccer at break, exchanging sandwiches, or maybe blushing at the first exchanges of loving glances between na├»ve boys and girls. Children are curiously fearless and yet inordinately fearful. Who knows what they thought, as they slipped away.

On the horn of Africa, millions are starving, children are dying at a (measured) rate of ten a day. The figures are likely far higher. They totter in from the barren wastelands, their bow-legs struggling to keep them from toppling into the dust. The safety camps are sometimes just grotesque hospices, where the childrens’ eyes sink deeper into their fly-specked faces, and their mothers wail, or just sit, silently. These emaciated ones just fall asleep, never having known couches, television sets or restaurants, and are ticked off on lists by grim volunteer medics as they die.

“And I just had to laugh…’

And in my community newspaper?

Well, there were some commentaries on horse riders losing their favourite riding grounds. A letter complaining about telemarketers. Another, about a family facing eviction from a council house, and still another about children born in prison, whose mothers are finally allowed to provide entertainment, toys and education to them. My community newspaper finished off with an incitement to go and see a visiting Dutch reed quartet, and some advertisements telling me to hire people to help me rid my garden of moles.

It just wasn’t funny, this week.

“I saw the photograph…”

*Read more about the Beatle’s song, A Day in the Life, here.

Lyrics | Beatles lyrics - A Day In The Life lyrics


  1. It almost never is funny, this week or any other week.

    Sometimes I wonder how it is we can go on, in the face of all the sadness. But we do what we can to not make the world a sadder place because of us, and to try to improve things, a bit, and hope for the best.

    I stopped by looking for my usual lift from your clever writing. I'm sadder, instead, but that's not so bad, given that I'm only sad because of what I read, and not because of my life. Thanks for the perspective.

  2. The news is tragic. No place to look for humour or beauty. But it does help to put perspective on "momentary troubles" we experience. I hope you have some good personal news, though, Briane. I promise to return to something light and frothy next time :)

  3. Very true ex BIL and well written! Made me weep, smile, share moments. : )


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