I never cease to be amazed whenever I pick up a book and start to read, for no matter which room I am in, the magic of those printed words acts like some magic carpet and I’m transported to some place in my imagination where I meet characters that can become friends, or enemies, depending on the parts they play as the pages unfold. The same with the authors; once hooked, they remain must reads forever.
I’ve been reading three similar books about a wartime Britain which I remember as a child growing up in a Welsh valley miles away from bombs, but where the reality of rationing and the tragedy of fathers and sons being killed, shot down, missing or feared lost, was on the doorstep. But nothing happened in a vacuum because everyone in such small communities was involved. That could sometimes work in your favour or against it since everyone knew everyone else. As a child I learned nothing was hidden from the all-seeing eyes of nosey neighbours, but those same neighbours would always be there to help in a crisis.
Much the same thing happens with music. I listened spellbound to Bach’s B Minor Mass last night, broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was sung by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. As it started I sent a quick text to my son and learned that although hundreds of miles away, he too was listening. In an instant, the distance between us disappeared; the power of the radio brought him home, and we could enjoy the music together.