What a start to the day, woken by the musical (Mk 1) tablet in time for the shipping forecast and a pre-gym warm-up. Sadly the exercise was not to last long for Radio 4’s early headlines promoted breathing of a very different sort.

The leading news seemed scarcely creditable. The near-codger representing the wealthiest nation on earth, an oldie seemingly still strong enough to press the nuclear button, the leader (for want of a more appropriate term) of the nation which has brought extraordinary scientific and technological advances in our lifetimes, was railing war-mongeringly against the tiniest of nations.

If the planet survives the present insanity, what will recalling the infantile words of Washington’s fool spark ... From Glen’s contribution, a total opposite.
Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Glen Campbell ... An American who brought enormous pleasure to so many. . With thanks to Arnielee for the portrait and to Wikipedia

He raged against a miniscule population about as far removed from democratic choice as shorthorn bullocks in a butchery, people whose average annual ‘pay’ is $1,800.

Seemingly these citizens who have no say in their own land let alone in the world upset the US, a land where Mr Average - who has the vote - is paid almost $52,000 a year.

The elected clown, who at 71 ought to be old enough to know better, railed that a certain 33-year-old tubby dictator’s subjects would know fire and fury for talking ill of the US.

Dangerous ranting

Worse perhaps than grandpops given to bullying, he shouted that they had better be very, very nervous.

Could this clownish yet dangerous ranting really come from the most powerful, wealthiest, most creative, most gifted nation on our planet?

Have we advanced so much in the 21st Century that a new approach has emerged – a grandpa’s blind fury, reminiscent of a German voice from 80-odd years ago, except that this loud-mouth emerged from the softest, most pampered, utterly spoilt upbringing, and has enjoyed the advantage of many, many years of a very much free-er world.

Then, just when it seemed our view of America must be changed totally, came news that almost restored old affection for that nation of astonishing intelligence. It was news of a completely opposite kind.

Not this time of further advances in high tech, nor about more astonishing success in Space, nor in medicine.

It was a desperately needed reminder that that strange continent across The Pond does have a heart far above and far more influential than the flow of this new anti-human drivel.

The news was of words and sounds that have more than touched us in truly human ways.

Intense pleasure

Somehow Glen Campbell must have known when it was time to depart to a better place. His was the voice in combination with the clever songwriting of Jimmy Webb and Larry Weiss that caused hearts to miss a beat, interrupted our breathing, and brought tears of pleasure to millions upon millions across the world.

Glen, and those gifted composers, chose to present the world with intense pleasure.

And now, and tomorrow, and perhaps in twenty years when the anti-human grump has hopefully long gone, who will hear phrases like Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Galveston, or Rhinestone Cowboy, without feeling enormous elevation, admiration, love, perhaps, to Glen for seemingly adding so much to life.

If the planet survives the present insanity, what will recalling the infantile words of Washington’s fool spark from memory? Hate, perhaps pity, for tarnishing a nation’s image. From Glen’s contribution, a total opposite. What a mix in that morning news – second-childhood rantings, and the very sad loss of someone who at least seemed to care.

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