A view backstage at Beverley Minster

Bring on the rotten tomatoes

Neil Pickford incites the crowd
This week I thought I’d produce a pot-pourri of petty ponder-points.
Gosh, I wonder if any of my dear readers will notice that this particular column has been sponsored by the letter ‘P’?
No, of course not!
OK then, let’s go.
“Please reserve parking spaces for two Roman centurions.”
Plainly this particularly peculiar petition taken from the virgers’ emails could potentially puzzle plenty of perusers – but not us. This passage was a portent of an event that should, at the very least, make shopping in Beverley on Good Friday a little more interesting than normal.
From the content of the message the Head Virger and the Assistant Virger (yours truly) immediately realised that we were in the period preceding another production of Beverley’s precious Passion Play. Soon several dozen members of different Beverley churches would unite to hang a poor person from a cross in Saturday Market in front of all the prospective purchasers and perambulators present.
This victim must, by tradition, be bearded and have long hair, but don’t worry folks it won’t be me. I am at least eight stone over the ideal weight required by producers when casting this particular character, and 25 years too old.
The players will be re-enacting the final steps of Christ en route to his crucifixion, starting in Wednesday Market, staging a mock trial, then finishing in Saturday Market. At various stages along the way there will be little vignettes taken from the Gospel reports of the day and the whole thing has, in previous years, been regarded as a hugely successful way of bringing the original events that evolved into our present Easter Bank Holiday back to public attention.
If you end up as part of that particular Friday crowd, puzzled, provoked, pained or generally pushed around without really knowing what’s going on then you are, inadvertently, participating and providing practical plausibility to the performance. The Palestinian shoppers on that original Friday would have been just the same, being bullied around by Roman centurions as a poor unfortunate was being led to his painful death. Perhaps it will make you ponder….
And moving on….
I was dumbfounded t’other day to discover, courtesy of Wikipedia, that there existed a society called the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Their thesis, apparently, is that humanity is a cancerous organism of no importance compared to the wonderful thing that is planet Gaia and all other living things. Our destructive species is of less value than the most commonplace insects, so they recommend we just stop breeding.
Apparently, they theorise, the final humans will be so full of happiness at saving good old Earth and all other things that dwell therein that they will contentedly wander around this renewed natural garden paradise, hand in hand, with no impure thoughts about S*X until they diminish into history.
It sounds like a rather twisted tweak on the original tale of Adam and Eve to me and there is only one suitable word to respond to this extreme ecological dream – and it doesn’t begin with a ‘P’.
One wonders at the level of self-loathing from which these individuals obviously suffer or, more worryingly, at the level of hatred they must feel for the rest of the society that spawned them. Notice the inbuilt sense of superiority that these people also display – they want us all dead but they don’t think the cause requires them, as superior-thinking individuals, to lead the way.
“Don’t do as I do, do as I say,” It’s the slogan of despots over the centuries and should always be exposed for the hypocrisy that it is. (As an aside, that’s why I believe we need a vigorous and scandal-searching free press in this country. Once you start controlling it then you prevent investigation into corruption – and who else is there who will do it?).
There is a very simple moral conclusion to be drawn from the two tales above but I’m not going to patronise you by making it. I believe my readers have far too much intelligence for that to work.
Talking of intelligence I found our old friend Pimple again when cleaning up in a distant part of our domain and we had a long chat.
Pimple had been ready to explore pastures new after Christmas but realised it liked the Minster so much that it decided not to float away as originally intended.
In fact it managed to find one of the very few places in the church that John and I haven’t Henry’d to within an inch of its life over the last few months – and I’m not going to tell you where it is – Pimple has as much right to a private life as any other piece of fluff (he said without feeling any twinge of hypocrisy).
It told me that it loved the constant turnover of new people and emotions – it didn’t need to travel any more but could experience the whole world from this new perch. It especially liked the energy and excitement of our semi-regular Youth Cafes.
There was only one thing that spoiled this perfection – it complained that the music at these events for young teens was rubbish. I promised to play some of the finest Led Zeppelin and Who through our PA system when the Minster is otherwise empty and, pleased by this, it promised to stay.
Proving that providing pleasurable products produces positive payoff for Pimple-partisans.

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