MY RIGHTEOUS ROAD RAGE... BOOMERANGS BACK ON ME - BBC Radio Ulster Thought For The Day 1.9.17

PRINCESS DIANA... BIRD ON A WIRE - Pause For Thought 31.8.17


(As I am currently doing a wee series of Fridays on BBC Radio Ulster's Thought For The Day, I had forgotten that before the summer I had agreed to do a couple of Pause For Thoughts for Radio 2. It was going into a restaurant last night that I discovered I was on this morning and they had needed my script a few hours before!!!

The theme was obvious.... "Where Were You When (Remembering Princess Diana). I order my food but the family didn't get much attention until I had typed a thought...

I like a little Bible in my thoughts. It is what I do and there is no point of a minister being on to just say nice things. However, the contrived handbrake turn that shoves a verse of Scripture in awkwardly is not an ideal approach either. This one is about being the free and committed person Jesus wants us to be. It might be more implicit than explicit this time!)

I was in bed. We were having a rare leisurely Sunday morning off and I flicked on the TV, immediately joining the nation's shock and experiencing that deep deep sadness that many of us will feel again today. Diana really was the people's Princess and even the days that followed are indelibly marked in my mind. That very evening I had to replan the playlist of my radio show. I married two very good friends on the day of her funeral. Candle In The Wind. The applause after her brother's tribute. The flowers on the hearse's windscreen. I remember where I was when...

The rest of that Sunday, twenty years ago today, was searching for songs for that radio show. Trying to find songs that would bring catharsis and some sense of spiritual meaning… deciding it was too early to dare to bring in any hope in those first tender moments of grief. Healing always comes a little later. 

"Sad Songs They Say So Much" as another Elton John song puts it. Music can delve deep, be a balm on open wounds. 

I remember scanning my huge CD collection and stopping at Leonard Cohen. There. Bird On A Wire. Melancholy. Last lyrical swipe at the naysayers! There were maybe 11 other songs on Rhythm and Soul that night. BUT that one...

"Like a bird on the wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free"

That one captured Diana. To be free. To be yourself. To try to change your world, to leave it better than you found it. And staying true to your values and beliefs no matter what the neighbours or the press say. That is what… and who… I remember. And maybe someone someday might say the same about me...


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