The importance of language

Kind words and positive feedback

There’s a special feeling when you get positive feedback and know it’s genuine. We had some of that yesterday when we played a lunchtime gig at Leatherhead Theatre. An experiment. Did people want Greensand’s jazz with their coffee and BLT? It seems they did. We were told it was a ‘divine hour’ and one audience member said the sound was ‘altogether cosmopolitan, sweet and pellucid, with a fine voice in Claire’. So, today I’m riding high. There was, it seems, only one dissenter – the lady who complained about noise levels and didn’t wait to listen to our answer, which was that we were doing a sound check precisely so we could get the levels right!

Leatherhead Theatre

Why play the theatre? Several reasons. It’s good to play. It’s local. Waitrose were opening opposite and that means either competition for the coffee trade or better footfall. And the theatre needs money. What theatre doesn’t?  But this is our local theatre, and two of us have ties to it, and to theatre generally. There is an appeal for funds currently and a desire to see real theatre revive in Leatherhead so its good to do our bit. More detail on their website –

Back to language

I was struck by the careful use of language by our audience member and how that contrasts with the mood of the moment. Not only that but how ‘cosmopolitan, sweet and pellucid’ contrasts with the public sphere and the mood engendered by recent political developments. A world in which ‘cosmopolitan’ contrasts with ‘America First’ or the prejudice and anti foreigner sentiment we’ve seen in the UK in the last few months; in which ‘sweet’ means weak , and in which most people have to look up ‘pellucid’. It means ‘pure and clear’, by the way – in tone when it’s specifically referring to music. Not the tone we’re hearing from our leaders at the moment.

It’s probably time to remember the quote ‘Out of the strong came forth sweetness.’ An Old Testament quote registered as a trademark for Golden Syrup (how did they get away with that?), it reminds us that sweetness is not weakness. Weakness is threatening the less advantaged, reintroducing torture, slamming the door in the face of the needy and bullying all who disagree. And it is lying, twisting the facts and muddying the waters so you can cling on to power. The opposite of pellucidity.

Tony Earnshaw

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