Saturday, 3 April 2010

Where have all the loonies gone?

Walking down Strand Street, our capital’s main shopping area, yesterday I couldn’t help thinking something was missing.
Small town adolescents in no brand hoodies desperately trying to look menacing – check.
Chainsmoking wideloads in jogging pants being pulled by asthmatic Staffies – check.
Drunks arguing with their reflections in cheap bar windows – check.
Pensioners still looking for proper local shops that vanished before the 1990 ’redevelopment’ – check.
The rich – not there, but nobody with money shops locally anyway so that wasn’t it either.
No, couldn’t put my finger on it until I got home and found on the Radio Cowshed website.
Of course – swivel-eyed lunatics quoting the Bible and crossing themselves while walking past the Ann Summers window display –THAT’S what was missing!
Well, now we know where they were. We might even feel grateful to an apprentice of Uganda’s second best known son (after Idi Amin) for keeping his fellow Sentamunatics off the streets for at least an afternoon.
Curious, of course, that he chose St. John’s Church, next to the Tynwald Field, and not the Cathedral. Apart from being used once a year as part of the Tynwald Ceremony it remains empty - another national mausoleum maintained at public expense. Also, interestingly, it is not a clergy appointment under the control of the Bishop or Manx Diocese. In fact, a moderate vicar who used to run it as part of a trio of sleepy village parishes used the fact that his was a Royal Appointment to defy both when the Diocese was in particularly right wing hands.
It might be that any Manx Christian aware of the early ill-treatment and continued anti-semitism experienced by World War Two refugees would feel uneasy at a histrionic evangelical Easter marathon being held in the Cathedral in the midst of the Anne Frank exhibition. Probably not though; few study their own history and even fewer have social consciences – otherwise they’d also have felt guilty hosting the exhibition.
Or was this a sly way of trying to place Anglicanism at the heart of Manx life? If so, are we supposed to conclude that a three hour sobfest held smack bang in the local BNP heartland and only attended by slack-jawed yokels was also indicative of Manx culture? That would be so depressing it should necessitate a national day of repentance.
Also dismiss any claims which might be made in coming days that this was a national gathering of the Christian community.
For the record, at 12 noon I was at a gathering in Douglas which only began when folk who had been at church services around the town that morning arrived, including key members of the island’s ecumenical organisations. None of them went on to St. John’s, so whatever went on wasn’t regarded by Churches Together in Mann as a vital show of strength.

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