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Word of mouth…

Birdsong - Peter Duncan
My six month tour of duty in the play of the book Birdsong is ending and the most pleasing aspect of it’s success has been the ‘word of mouth’ as we say in the theatre. In 1914 the word of mouth was that there was no chance of war however the human carnage of battles such as the Somme a couple of years later suggests that there was a serious misjudgement. Today we are clued up by frontline rolling news, embedded ads and every individual can broadcast live to the rest of the world with apps like periscope. We like to think that in democracies we can access the truth but every corporation, government, charity and ideology wants to pitch their story. In truth we are all hawkers of fantasy. Word of mouth – look someone in the eye, listen and then make a judgement is still the best way but even then it can go pear shaped.

As one of the 240,000 members of the Labour party who can now vote for the new leader, the deputy leader, the mayoral candidate I am overwhelmed by communications. I am passionate for a social enterprising country but I’m still in political mourning and not ready
for this new battle. As Roger McGough said just before Neil Kinnock spoke at his final rally.

I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Promise? Promise?
Yippee I’m the leader
I’m the leader
OK what shall we do?

Perhaps candidates could write us a nice poem like Roger.

In September 1980 Simon Groom, Sarah Greene and myself were Blue Peter presenters and nearly 35 five years later we are still laughing about it. Although I’m adverse to nostalgia we were revelling in front of the TV cameras.

As patron of my favourite social enterprise I wish them a happy 2nd Birthday and may many more beautiful bearns be born by them.

Birdsong sing about Jimmy Waddle in 1914. Get the periscope app and listen on Twitter.

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