Not ‘all in this together’

2nd July 2010 | Concerts, Daily Life, Musings | 4 comments

I went to a lunchtime concert in the City of London, the district where many bank headquarters are. It’s an area I don’t often visit. As I was early, I walked around the streets for a while. They were thronged with incredibly affluent-looking suntanned bankers in beautiful suits, wave upon wave of them, strolling to lunch in the sunshine.  Their body language spoke volumes about their sense of well-being. Every restaurant and wine bar I passed was full to bursting. Their price lists seemed to place them in the ‘special occasion’ category, but they were full of people for whom this kind of meal is clearly an everyday occurrence. Champagne corks popped as I glanced in to the dark interiors, and from the open doors came a sort of gratified braying sound. Outside one of the banks, staff streamed nonchalantly past demonstrators mounting a protest about their investment policies.

Observing all this, I was struck by a powerful feeling that the banking crisis has changed nothing in the financial district. It was clearly business as usual, and people were feeling jolly good about it. Our government keeps telling us that ‘we’re all in this recession together’, but clearly we’re not. As I entered the mediaeval church for an hour of chamber music, I felt as if I were entering another world.


  1. Barbara gilby

    Dear Susan, I received a copy of “A Musician’s alphabet” as a present recently. No doubt you already have plebty of positive feed back, but I just want you to know that I’m finding the book not only interesting, but also thought provoking. Regards, Barbara Gilby (violinist, Canberra, Australia)

  2. Susan Tomes

    Thank you, Barbara – it’s kind of you to take the trouble to let me know. Very glad you’re enjoying ‘Musician’s Alphabet’. My new book ‘Out of Silence’ continues the theme of looking behind the scenes at a performer’s life – with a few more ‘personal glimpses’ perhaps.

  3. Beverly Woodward

    “We’re all in this together,” seems like very British rhetoric. I don’t think that American politicians, left or right, would dare say that now. Nor would they believe it, since the press constantly tells us that Main Street is furious at Wall Street. Strangely, however, the administration–or parts of it–appears to believe that the public is more concerned about deficit spending at the federal level than about the disastrous finances of the many state governments that are unable to pay their bills and that will continue to be unable to pay their bills without federal help. I am waiting for someone to say that “California is too big to fail.”

  4. Gretchen Saathoff

    What comes to mind when reading this post is the word “reality.”

    Which of the two worlds is “real?” Can they ever meet?

    I know that my sense of reality is definitely alternative to many other views on the subject.

    I’m glad you were able to enter another world and hear the concert!


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