Flag waving

Royal standard of Norway

Royal standard of Norway

Yesterday the train was again diverted via Hilversum, but this time it was due to necessary work on the track which will go on for several weeks. I was en route to give my last class for this semester. On Saturday the students do their Final, and then it’s over.

By chance, the journey via Hilversum gave me an idea. A very obvious one, but I have a peculiar ability to miss the obvious… Maybe because there is so much around that doesn’t appear to be interesting. We passed by some business premises just outside Hilversum – I don’t know what the firm was. There were flags flying there. Not nice national flags or, even nicer, a royal standard, but “company flags”. I was used of course to seeing these, but had always discounted them. In this case, they were truly risible. Along the tops of the flags, threaded into the border, was a thin rod, at right angles to the flagpole. So the flags were erect and “flying” even though there was no wind. It was stupid looking and, of course, part of the attraction of a flag is the way it furls and unfurls in the wind.

These stupid stiff versions are really advertisements, simply that. And then I thought that blogs, websites for composers, are similarly advertisements. Attention seeking.
On the journey back, I was thinking about the ways in which composers do this. The other day I received a publishers catalogue of what is, I think, quite a poor composer. There was an introduction written by a music critic. The prose was almost purple (violet? mauve?). And then I got the idea that the critic knew just how weak the work was that he was praising. The more “purple” he became, the more he seemed to be lying. (We never stop lying of course, but the insidious ones are the lies we tell ourselves).

So I think a website can be used to give out honest thoughts and feelings as well as cataloguing work. Trumpeting “success” where there is none is, well, lying. And rather transparently so in the case I mentioned. As to company flags – how dull is that?

The Royal Standard of Norway, shows how it should be done.

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