28.9.42

Open-air church parade in Regents Park yesterday. How touching the scene ought to be – the battalion in hollow square, band of the Coldstream Guards, the men standing bareheaded (beautiful autumn day, faint mist and not a leaf stirring, dogs gambolling round) and singing the hymns as best they could. But unfortunately there was a sermon with the jingoistic muck which is usual on these occasions and which makes me go pro-German for as long as I listen to it. Also a special prayer “for the people of Stalingrad” – the Judas kiss. [A detail that gets me down on these occasions is the clergyman’s white surplice, which looks all wrong against a background of military uniforms. Struck by the professionalism of the band, especially the bandmaster (an officer in the black peaked cap of the Guards). As each prayer drew to its close, a stirring in the band, the trombones comes out of their leather suitcases, the bandmaster’s baton comes up, and they are ready to snap into the Amen just as the priest reaches “through Jesus Christ our Lord”.]

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5 Responses to 28.9.42

  1. Gwil says:

    What’s Jesus got to do with it? They always drag his name into it when it comes to war.

    Today they have no excuse but they still do it. Surely every jingoistic priest should be made to read Major General Smedley-Butler’s report titled ‘War is a Racket before’ he prepares his sermon.

  2. Sean Manning says:

    Or Mark Twain’s parable about jingoistic sermons on the occasion of the Spanish-American War.

  3. Gilles Mioni says:

    French translation.
    Une parade en plein air à Regents Park hier. Comme c’était émouvant ! Le bataillon rangé en carré, l’orchestre des Coldstram Guards, les hommes têtes nues (par une belle journée d’automne, lègère brume, pas une feuille morte tournoyant, les chiens courant tout autour de la foule) s’efforçaient de chanter les cantiques du mieux qu’ils pouvaient.
    Malheureusement il y a eu le sermon, un flot de boue chauvine comme d’habitude en ces occasions et qui me ferait presque devenir pro-allemand pendant que j’écoute çà.
    Il y a aussi une prière spéciale pour la population de Stalingrad – le baiser de Judas.
    Dans ces moments il y a un détail qui me pèse affreusement, c’est le surplis tout blanc du pasteur et qui paraît si déplacé parmi les uniformes.
    Je suis frappé par le professionnalisme des musiciens, en particulier le chef de musique (un officier avec la casquette noire à visière de la Garde). Comme la prière tirait à sa fin, l’orchestre s’agitent, on sort les trombones de leurs étuis en cuir, le bâton du chef d’orchestre s’élève, et ils sont prêts à se placer et répondre Amen alors que le prêtre finit « par Jésus-Christ notre Seigneur ».</em

  4. Gilles Mioni says:
  5. Colin Moorcraft says:

    Gilles

    Thanks for a beautiful, lucid translation of Mr. Blair’s private musings on this day. I very much hope that you are engaged in further translation of his writings.

    - Colin Moorcraft

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