Time to Share

One last delicious coffee made by Max, owner of Divina Cafe on King’s street. Everything looks extra kind and welcoming in London today, everyone seems particularly friendly, and even the things I don’t love about my corner of the city have a warmth to them, making the idea of leaving for so long that bit more uncomfortable. This summer has been the longest stretch I’ve been close to home (London and Ayrshire) for quite a few years, and I’m sad it has come to an end.

Glasgow, before, during and after the Commonwealth Games, was bursting at the seams with good deeds, happy faces, creativity and ambition. Edinburgh during the festival was too, although you could never have mistaken one city’s atmosphere for the other!

In London I attended a number of BBC Proms, and gawped yet again at seeing vast numbers of people queuing for hours to sit or stand through a long evening of challenging music. What a phenomenon – a festival of that quality to reach that many people? Every year, I marvel at their continued achievements and this year pray that whoever takes over Roger Wright’s position will continue with the Proms’ great tradition of upholding musical excellence and innovation with inclusivity and education.

As the new concert season begins, for me, very far away in Korea and Australia, I’m trying to be extra mindful of all the experiences shared this summer. Long workshops with hundreds of talented young musicians, flashmobbing in and around Glasgow, playing Celtic Park with 40,000 singing along to Loch Lomond, the Great Classics Day in Glasgow that saw thousands of people walk through the doors of the Royal Concert Hall in a matter of hours to hear orchestras and chamber groups for just £5. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to get quite so close to so many people before.

And what people – the amount of goodness and kindness and generosity I encountered was overwhelming. All this talk of lost and uncommunicative youths – I didn’t see it. I met wonderful, interesting and thoroughly kind, thoughtful teenagers and children. As well as parents and grandparents and supportive friends and colleagues.

With so much upheaval and darkness dominating international news this summer, reflecting on all that goodness and light saves me from recoiling in fear. And serves as a reminder that, given the chance to experience beauty and uplift, goodness can be found in all of us. In the case of the young people I got to know this summer, they tell elaborate tales of how the beauty of great music had changed their lives for the better. But many won’t ever have that opportunity, and a simple act of love, kindness or acceptance is as much as they can hope for. Those of us with the privilege of knowing music, let’s share it. But we all have the capacity for kindness and compassion – let’s share that too.