Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Thomas Beecham

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A city life for me!
--
Of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Pastoral Symphony

 
Thomas Beecham

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From his biographers we know how cautious and reserved Cavafy was, how reluctant to talk about himself. Although he frequented cafes and saw many people, his loneliness remained unalleviated. This poem is a rather unusual confession for the poet, especially since it comes so early in his life: Now that you've wasted your life here, in this small corner, you've destroyed it everywhere in the world. The "City" is a summing up of the poet's life, starting with the desire for escape, for a journey, the last hope for a new beginning and ending with the realization that the journey is impossible because once a life has been ruined in one city it will be the same in any other. What separates him from society will not change from city to city.

 
Constantine P. Cavafy
 

There is a city myth that country life was isolated and lonely; the truth is that farmers and their families then had a richer social life than they have now. They enjoyed a society organic, satisfying and whole, not mixed and thinned with the life of town, city and nation as it now is.

 
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I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still.

 
Ronald Reagan
 

Then you get these articles about how unhealthy life is in the city. You know; mobile phone tumours - far more likely in the city; Well you know what, so is everything else! Including sex, coffee and conversation.

 
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I am a friend of Doc Holliday, because when I was city marshal of Dodge City, Kansas, he came to my rescue and saved my life, when I was surrounded by desperados.

 
Wyatt Earp
 

If you go back a couple of hundred years to when the European cities really started to grow and peasants left the land to seek their future in the cities there was a saying that “city air makes you free” and the people who have come to London all races, creeds and colours have come for that. This is a city that you can be yourself as long as you don’t harm anyone else. You can live your life as you chose to do rather than as somebody else tells you to do. It is a city in which you can achieve your potential. That, I think, is our strength and that is what the bombers seek to destroy. They fear that freedom, they fear a world in which the individual makes their own life choices and their own moral value judgements and that is what they seek to snuff out. But they will fail.

 
Ken Livingstone
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