The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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9:18pm on Sunday, 11th November, 2007:



There was a craft fair on in Colchester today. I'm not actually averse to craft fairs, but this one I was dreading as I knew we'd be there at 11 o'clock.

11 o'clock on the 11th day of the 11th month, which this year happens to be Remembrance Sunday: no way were they not going to have 2 minutes' silence. Sure enough, with about 20 minutes to go they gave us a warning ("we will be having 2 minutes' silence"), then come the hour we got it.

So, apart from one bawling child, we all stood still and waitied for 2 minutes. Then we carried on looking at a variety of hand-crafted festive wares again. The voice on the public address system thanked us for thinking about the fallen.

Hmm, except of course I didn't think about the fallen. I never do think about the fallen. I don't actually know any fallen. The only distant relative I have who died in conflict was my grandfather's uncle, who copped it in World War I: there's no-one still alive who ever knew him. The reason I was quiet was because I didn't want to secure the opprobrium of everyone else (which, for the most part, is why they were also quiet). I don't like enforced 2 minute silences: it's a power thing, not a remembrance thing.

I always wear a poppy, because I don't think that enough is done by the government to support the people they've sent to be shot at. It's also a mark of respect. However, I don't have to wear a poppy: the social norms aren't that strong. For 2 minute silences, though, they are that strong: if one person breaks it, everyone else loses out. Thus, if caught in a 2 minutes' silence, you have to play along.

I didn't think about the fallen, though. I thought about how my wife would react if I called her mobile number.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).