Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Starting the New Year with a Whimper

"Doug's blog" (which is how I shall refer to it from now on, as it saves my archive going out of date every time he renames it) reflects on the fact that a sudden change doesn't necessarily change everything. This doesn't just apply to attitudes to the new Archbishop of Canterbury, of course. The charities that care for our health like to use this time of year to encourage us to think about the state of our bodies as, bloated and fragile from  cubic metres of turkey and roast spuds, unable to see straight and shaky of hand and wallet, we look, blood-shot at the new year and wonder if we're going to make it. With that sort of a start, we all swear to drink less, decide to eat less, use our last 400 quid of overdraft to sign up for a year at the gym and then, overcome by all that effort, consume the remaining Bailey's to give us moral strength.

I believe it was the poets Banks, Rutherford and Collins who said "there's a time in between the two - the old year's gone but it's not the new". Here at the Beaker Folk, we like to think we live in a liminal space. A "liminal space" is a threshold. And the whole point of crossing a threshold is that nobody actually stands in a threshold - you'd get your fingers trapped in the door, apart from anything else. You've either got to come in or stay out - stop standing there, on the step - you're just letting the draught in! Shut the bloody door NOW!

Sorry, I don't quite know what happened there. Some regression to my parent's complaints when I was standing in liminal spaces as a child, I suspect. So we Beaker People like the idea of liminality. The power is all in the potential. You can't go actually making strides forward - for then Pandora's box is open, Schrodinger's cat is definitively either dead or alive, the bird has flown, the horse has bolted, the goose is cooked, and you're into the world of actually achieving something. Whereas as long as we hang, liminal, in a half-land between the old and the new - it's really quite exciting, quite invigorating, liberating and - above all - completely unchallenging.

So come and make a big step sideways with us. We'll never go very far. But, on the bright side, we'll never make promises we can't keep. If you want a vision, we can make sure it's a small one.


  1. Happy New Year Archdruid. (I can't remember if I have already posted a New Year's greeting and can't be bothered to search. So, to make assurance doubly sure:

    May all your thresholds be little ones and your boundaries remain uncrossed.

  2. Stepping forward is all very well if there is something to step into. The problem arises if you believe there is nothing but a void (or worse a 3 day Teetotal, Revivalist meeting) on the other side. Personally I am quite happy to step into the unknown (but draw the line at the Revivalists) and find it quite invigorating. However, I am aware that this is not necessarily the case for all.

    Welby is not so much stepping into a void as diving into Pandora's box without a pair of swimming trunks. On the other hand he does know that. He leaves us in Durham back in the void again and we haven't a clue who will replace him but you can bet your last Revivalist Dollar that he (wonder if we could have the first she?) won't be as exciting and so full of possiblity as Justin Welby was.


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