I cannot believe I missed International Women's Day again this year. Did you have it marked down in your diary? How organised of you! I'm afraid it slipped my notice for what must be nearly the fortieth time in my life. It is just some kind of blind spot.
Don't get me wrong! As Sir Humphrey Appleby says somewhere, 'Some of my best friends are women.' It's just that an international day of phoney celebration, releasing balloons or doves and joining in candle-lit vigils, is beyond even my powers of endurance, whatever the cause or the agenda. But then why do people get so excited about it? I've heard of 'any port in a storm', but 'any bandwagon in a crowd'?
I assisted at a Mass this evening at which the Missa Santi Joannae Dei (sp?) was sung. The music was lovely, at least taken in the abstract. In his sermon the priest observed that Haydn, who had written it, was a devout Catholic who used to get inspiration from praying the Rosary. But then if he was so devout - and I'm not doubting it, honest! - why did he write a Benedictus which held up the consecration for what felt like five minutes? It's no good telling me that St Pius X banned all that stuff: it still gets performed. I wonder if my lack of sympathy for it is like my lack of sympathy for International Women's Day - a feeling of resistant to the implausible elaboration of what should naturally bring us into a state of veneration. Why the fuss and bother?
Along such fault lines do classical and baroque minds part company.
Go to 3 minutes in for another view.