We’re fortunate that we have a variety of interests and can enthuse about them here on this blog.
We also have readers whose interests range from education to gardening, from cycling to creativity, from philosophy to photography.
We’re therefore going to put together a monthly post consisting of various snippets which we hope you’ll enjoy.
We hope to get feedback on this format, and we’ll do this regularly if our readers find it interesting.
The full script from the pdf is here below.
Last week we went along to the Bruce Springsteen concert in Hyde Park. 50,000 people enjoyed the brilliance of the musicians of the E Street Band, and of course the Boss himself.
Bruce is a very special performer – singing earthy and inspiring lyrics throughout his customary three hour shows. He has incredible spirit, and a soul that connects with his entire audience.
Even the most successful people have ambitions and aspirations, and Bruce achieved one of his by bringing Paul McCartney onto the stage towards the end of the show.
And then madness ensued. As the two of them were finishing a rendition of “Twist and Shout”, the music faded to a silence. Someone had decided that they had overrun the agreed finishing time and therefore the power should be switched off.
What right has anyone to do that? Surely the man deserved to finish his set as planned, especially if it was no fault of his that the set started later than scheduled. It wasn’t even 11pm. People coming out of pubs would have made more noise. And how many complaints did Westminster Council receive about the slight over-run?
London is about to host the Olympic Games. Just for once couldn’t we learn how to relax and enjoy life?
The Tour De France
There’s an interesting article in the Guardian about Team Sky in the Tour De France. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/17/tour-de-france-mark-cavendish
Anyone who isn’t familiar with the Tour may want to take a quick look at this website from Children’s BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/18769169
Anyone who hasn’t watched the Tour is missing out on some of the most amazing TV shots of the French landscape. Even if you aren’t interested in the race itself, it’s worth watching the coverage just to enjoy the views of what France has to offer.
Returning to the Guardian article, we’re impressed with the balance between the egotism of individual cyclists and their need to be part of a team. Last year, Mark Cavendish won the Green Jersey for the fastest sprinter in the race. He has his heart set on gaining an Olympic Gold this year, so hasn’t had huge individual ambitions for the Tour this year. Meanwhile, Bradley Wiggins (already an Olympic medallist) is keen to win the Yellow Jersey as the overall winner.
As Cavendish said this time last year, you cannot win either jersey on your own. This is a team sport even though someone gets the individual glory. There has to be a balance between the needs of the individual compared with the needs of the many. This year, the priority for the team has been all about Bradley Wiggins winning the General Classification.
To this effect, Cavendish has had to play a less prominent role and merely be one of the team; carrying water for his colleagues – playing second fiddle. His reward – the entire team will be working strenuously to ensure that he wins the final stage of the race in a sprint finish in Paris on Sunday.
What does this tell us about working as a team? It tells us that it takes all sorts of people with all sorts of skills to be part of a team. There is a time and place for “me” but there’s also a time and place for “we”.
Effective schools and businesses work when team leaders recognise the various skills within their team, learn how to delegate effectively and share responsibility, and make the most of the talents within their team.
Everyone has a role, even if they aren’t the most visible.
In the case of Mark Cavendish, it’s probably quite difficult to take a back seat when you have been such a success in previous years. Cavendish cares as much about being a member of his team as he does about personal glory; a lesson for us all.
Cliché it may be, but there’s no ‘I’ in Team Sky.
More from the Courtauld Museum
For anyone who missed our post on our visit to the Courtauld museum, here’s a photograph of a Renoir painting of a ballet dancer. As we said in the post, it was incredible to be able to get so close to these masterpieces.
The London Olympic Games is less than 10 days away. We have some tickets to the park and will be reporting regularly on life in London during this period.
For those who are interested, the Guardian has an excellent 360 degrees view of the Olympic sites.
US athlete Kerron Clement didn’t get the best of introductions to London – a mammoth treck through and around the city on a bus with a driver who had never been to London prior to picking up competitors at Heathrow. Mind you, some of his fellow athletes on the four hour drive around the capital rather enjoyed the accidental tour that included such sites and sights as Westminster, Trafalgar Square and St. Paul’s.
The fact that this debacle mirrored the wonderfully satirical events in the “Twenty Twelve” comedy television series makes it all the more amusing. Or is that the other way around? In its first series, the Olympic ‘countdown clock’ farcically stopped working – only for the same thing to happen in real life.
Bless the British ability to laugh at themselves.
Back to Education
Three brilliant documents that are worth a read.
Education, education, education
The Labour Party are having a rethink. Kevin Brennan and Stephen Twigg are considering a new response to education which advocates putting decisions about pedagogy and curriculum back where they belong – with educators rather than politicians.
Like the government, they are rightly talking about knowledge but there is also the language of skills, values and qualities shining through.
We shall be reporting on this later in the week, but we are heartened that there appears to be a very different opinion about education coming from the Labour Party education strategy team compared with a decade or so ago.
Admitting that serious policy mistakes were made in the past is difficult for anyone, especially politicians, so we welcome this admission that test and exam factories were created and that it’s now time to seriously look at the basic educational entitlement for all children.
And finally: Memories
We have recently been looking at memories. We would like to share with you some writing from Lao Tzu on the subject.
Each moment is fragile and fleeting.
The moment of the past cannot be kept, however beautiful.
The moment of the present cannot be held, however enjoyable.
The moment of the future cannot be caught, however desirable.
But the mind is desperate to fix the river in place:
Possessed by ideas of the past,
Preoccupied with images of the future,
It overlooks the plain truth of the moment.