P1020779 Today has been a grey day in Brisbane – rather like an Auckland day – but warmer – not that the residents would think it warm. On a walk down by the pier I could not resist taking this photo of a group of players on the steamboat. It brought back memories of a certain group of players on the Kestrel Auckland Harbour ferry before it started its second incarnation as a fine restaurant in Tauranga – unfortunately currently a casualty of the economic times.

I though the use of a sousaphone (admittedly without a white fibreglass bell) particularly significant. Followers of the Queen City Big Band – this is where your source began.

I went to see the film "Brideshead Revisited". I read all the Evelyn Waugh books, however I may need to read them again as I do not remember such bitterness in the books as there is in the film. It is possible I was too young when I read them – early to mid- teens after my D H Lawrence period.

So the film…it began as a courteous comedy of manners and descended to a divine drama of decadent depravity (all carefully considered words….) set in the 1930s and 1940s…a time of huge upheaval in the world – in some ways not unlike those we face now – for mildly different reasons maybe – or rather, finding their origins in different regions….

The start of the film shows how the aristocracy in England had lost all sense of perspective on life, with people being looked up to (or after!) not because they had earned any rights, but merely because of the accident of their birth.

From there the film becomes a display of the "divine" guilt that the Church lays upon its people. Note here a difference in the term "religion" and the term "church". Religion comes from within oneself. The Church on the other hand is a exterior veneer that has been laid over the original philosophical thought, with its own agenda and hence its own interpretation.

It is not that far away from reality. I can remember in my youth that we were actually told at youth group meetings that it was not really acceptable to go out with a member of the Catholic Church (We were even given a pamphlet once!). In their turn, the Catholic Church required spouses etc to convert or at the very least agree to bring up any offspring within the Catholic Church. Both ideologies are of course at fault, as one should look for happiness in a loving and supporting relationship – not because of any societal pressures, expectations or constraints.

The film of Brideshead is quite clear in its condemnation of the Church. However to be fair, I now need to read the book again to try to decide how I thought Evelyn Waugh saw this. I shall need to revisit ……

About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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