Saturday, 28 March 2015

Like the balloon game but safer...

What would you save from the fire?

Legal & General are currently running a campaign to help reduce the risk of a potential fire in the home. And as part of their awareness-raising programme they've asked me to write a blog post explaining what I'd save from my home in the event of a fire and why.

It's more difficult to do than you'd think. Assuming the family is all out safely, what single inanimate object do you choose? Something significant, relevant, important, valuable and irreplaceable, obviously. But that doesn't really narrow down the options greatly. So, while I'm thinking, have a look at the Legal & General tips on how to protect your home.

That list makes interesting reading, not least the need to ensure electrical appliances are all unplugged when you go away (are you reading, granny?) and that sockets aren't overloaded. Smoking in bed isn't really an issue with a young family (!) so my action plan based on these tips is to organise an escape plan and to make sure the candles we sometimes light are always extinguished (which isn't usually a problem when they're on a birthday cake).

So, what would I save if I had the chance as well as the unfortunate need to do so? Well, having just sorted a whole load of old bits and bobs into folders, I think it'd be something like this:

I've got a great stack of old concert programmes for events I've taken part in ranging from BBC Proms to local choral society concerts. But I came across this, the other day, from my schooldays and was amazed by it on about every possible level.

First, the date of the concert itself. The programme says it took place in 1978 which is clearly a mistake as I can't be that old.

But there's more. Just look at this orchestra:

And that's just page one!

Although yours truly was the only double bass player listed there were 14 violins, 3 violas, 11 cellos, 6 flutes, 4 oboes, 6 clarinets, one bassoon, 5 trumpets, 3 each of Eb flat horn and euphonium and 3 percussionists. And all in a comprehensive school orchestra!

Not only does this programme for what must have been one of my earliest school productions deserve preservation for that reason alone, I think it has a wider social significance. It proves there was a time (not so very long ago) when an ordinary boy could go to the local school in a moderately-sized northern city (Wakefield, in this case) and have the opportunity to make music on an orchestral scale - and for such a thing not to be unusual.

If only those wonderful opportunities themselves were so easily preserved!

Disclaimer: Legal and General said if I wrote this post they'd offer me a 'a gift (up to £70) related to the item you would save from the fire!' Well, as is my policy, I agreed to do it not for the gift or the money but because I believe in it. Even so, I'm fascinated to learn what Legal and General will choose by way of a reward. A double bass, perhaps? A return to old-days school music provision? Watch this space!

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