Here Comes the Sun….

16 Jul

As Paul Simon neared the end of a briliant set in Hyde Park last night, the sun broke through, yet again. The great man paused  to hum a couple of the Beatle bars before  sax and trumpet heralded the further joy of You can call me Al..We had been served a feast of Graceland nostalgia with Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo reprising their choral, rhythmic, trumpeting, percussive, virtuoso roles of 35years earlier to aid the diminutive septuagenarian New Yorker in his quest to rekindle the making and first performances of that classic and controversial album. Soweto, once again breathed over London.

A lovely day of gentle indulgence enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the Hyde Park stages and bars had prefaced the main event. The country smiles and haunting violin-and-voice of Alison Krauss had only just left the Park when Simon stepped up a shade before 7.30. He was clearly mindful of the Springsteen-McCartney curfew ‘silencing’ of the night before. He wasn’t going to chance it. He toured through the post Garfunkel stuff as hors d’oeuvres before the bizarrely comic choreography of LBM gave a gawky poignance to the beautiful a cappella  Homeless. This signalled an hour of Graceland made fresh by an extraordinary mix of instruments and voices from across the globe.

Around 10pm some people were leaving the pitch but it wasn’t all over. The adoring thousands of mixed, age, race, nationality, gender – you name it – were to be taken back in encore to the early days when we were just poor boys with our stories seldom told and the words of our prophets were written on subway walls. Just on 10.15 – and before the curfew spoiltsports – Paul Simon departed the main stage and we were replete. With Frank Sinatra’s version of Mrs Robinson serenading our huddled, happy exit, we made for Green Park tube.

As we shambled happily along I reflected. I hadn’t heard a swear word all day. Thousands upon thousands of fans had queued up for entry, security searches, burgers, shabby mobile toilets, beer, public transport; pleases and thank-yous had abounded. As we thronged down Piccadilly, spilling into the slow traffic, smiles were the order of the day; plenty of police but no officiousness.  could have been forgiven the thought that this society was civilised, at one with itself, mindful and caring of others; slow to irritation, quick to applaud; generous of spirit warmed by companionship.

It had been a week of blame and shabbiness. John Terry could never win or lose. He’s become the fodder of witty middle class journalists who would hardly be caught mouthing f…… black c… because it would say an awful lot more about them than it does about JT. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the man but I didn’t grow up in his back yard.

The G4S security shortfall was bound to become the government’s fault wasn’t it? Why not accept that this private firm messed things up and get on with it. Our media wants so desperately to make any hiccough in London 2012 a tip-of-an-iceberg story that the saliva of journos dribbling through the pages is revoltingly palpable.

Do I want to trawl through what has been caught in the week’s media net? Not really. I couldn’t find anything this morning about what went on in Hyde Park yesterday – just the lingering downbeat story of Bruce and Sir Paul ending their Saturday  gig in silence. As usual, but mostly unreported,  Brucie had been at his brilliant best for the three hours before lights out. I didn’t expect to read about Paul Simon’s uneventful Sunday tour de force but it had been great, whatever the papers said or didn’t say.

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