18 July 2010

New world ... real soon now

My friend Dirk Dusharme writes in delight at rediscovery of “Roger Whittaker, a folk singer I loved as a kid”.

I didn't know Roger Whittaker as a kid ... but in my student days, "New world in the morning"[1] was something of an anthem.

Everybody talks about a new world in the morning.
New world in the morning takes so long

As we listened to the song we looked around us at the mess of a world which we had entered. "Yes," we all thought impatiently (though I don't remember anyone saying it aloud), "we need a new world, and yes, the morning is too long to wait for it".

Four decades on, I look around me at the world which my own generation (we who were listening to Whittaker in the early 1970s) have bequeathed to those who follow. We have no cause to feel proud. Some of us who were so impatient for a new world now have long ago deserted the cause and settled for profiting from the old one. Some have given up, resigned.

Some of us continue to dream of, hope for, and work towards a new world. But we tend to think in terms of achieving small steps towards it. Possibly we dare to hope that within our lifetimes we might see some sort of early prototype virtual concept model of it. All of which is sad evidence that we are grown old and wear our trousers rolled[2].

I met a man who had a dream he had since he was twenty.
I met that man when he was eighty-one.
He said too many people just stand and wait up til the mornin',
Don't they know tomorrow never comes?

I scan the faces of young people I work with, looking for the same impatience as we had. It's there; not in every face ( when was it ever?) but in enough. There will never be a new world today, nor for that matter in the morning; but we desperately need those who can still demand that there should be.

  1. Roger Whittaker, New world in the morning. 1970, EMI Columbia. DB8718. (More recently on Roger Whittaker, New world in the morning, 2007, Philadelphia: Collectables, B0000TAOFM.)
  2. T S Eliot, "The love song of J Alfred Prufrock", in Prufrock, and other observations. 1917, London: The Egoist. (More recently 2001, London: Faber, 0571207200, or in TS Eliot, Collected poems, 1909-1962, 2002, London: Faber, 0571105483.)

1 comment:

dirk said...

And the lyric that follows the one Felix posted:

And he would feel a new tomorrow coming on,
And when he'd smile his eyes would twinkle up in fun

I suppose there are a lot of spins you could put on that bit of lyric, but for me:

It's good to have hopes and dreams for a new and better world. And it's good to work for it today, now, rather than wait for the morning. But... you do have to smile, enjoy the ride, and realize that our individual efforts are part of the journey that we are all taking together, and that part of the joy of our humaness is the joy of working together for that new day.