Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's great being British

So Comic Relief raised £54 million - the highest total in its history, in the middle of the worst recession in living memory.

It sums up what I love about this country.  As a nation, we're self-hating at times - "doing something funny for money" is a very David Brent thing to do, and when he got fired in the second series of The Office while wearing a 'humorous' ostrich and rider costume, it was a brilliant moment of pathos.  When you see someone wearing a red nose and thinking that's the same thing as having a sense of humour, when you roll your eyes as someone gets sponsored to sit in a bath of beans (why does it always HAVE to be beans?) you sort of cringe a bit.

But we just go out and we fucking do it, and the collective result is inspirational.  We do it in a way that says 'I know this is crap, but come on...', we give money in a way which says 'oh go on then, this is all a bit embarrassing but here you go' and we achieve something. 

What did I do?  I sat and watched telly all night, drinking beer.  And at one point, after one tearjerking short film, I went online and bought ten mosquito nets, which might save ten lives.  And I feel fucking good about it.  And I feel that every now and then, you can stick turn a blind eye to the relentless cynicism and societal unease that normally holds sway over our thoughts, and smile.

Some of Comic relief was shit.  Some of it was hilarious.  But that's hardly the point.  We can debate the ethics of charity versus the developed world's obligation to drop Third World debt, and whether aid really gets to where it's supposed to rather than going into Robert Mugabe's birthday bar tab.  Yeah, but do that next week.  Giving is good for the soul.  

And the main point when I started this - if I had one - is that this is one of those rare occasions - like Christmas, perfect summer days and the Strictly Come Dancing final - when we feel that we're all doing the same thing, participating, being together as a nation.  And if you can just shut the cynical voice up long enough, it feels rather nice.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't watch the show it self i watched a gardening programme (which made me choke up) and then a doc about rough trade. But i chipped in like you did and I can't see why charities shoudln't work it's just collective action and the whole it only goes to corrupt governments is to just excuse tight gets make.