I was watching the television the other day. It was a programme called ‘Antiques Uncovered’ on BBC4 which takes a light hearted look at how some objects have affected our lives. It is presented by Historian Dr Lucy Worsley and antiques expert Mark Hill. I enjoyed it.
During the show Mark Hill told us about the Festival of Britain exhibition which was held way back in 1951 in London. My in-laws told me how they went down to see it. As it happens I have been to the Festival Hall to see my eldest daughter’s convocation from University. He showed us a replica of the now iconic Antelope chair designed by Ernest Race especially for the exhibition.
The event was known as the austerity festival and was used to promote the new and better times ahead now that the second world war was behind us. The chair has a white frame and a yellow seat and Mark Hill said that yellow was the perfect antidote to austerity.
What a nice thought. Let’s use colour as an antidote for all of the world’s ails.
For the last six, or is it seven years now we have been going through a period of financial austerity. Our belts have been tightened ever since the banking crisis from 2008. We may be having another one in 2016 as the global economy teeters along. My budget at work has almost been halved and it will be a few more years before we come out into the light.
Don’t get me wrong, our austerity was nothing like the years of privation during the war. I also understand the reasons for the financial constraint and we have been able to do many things on the back of it that we wouldn’t have been able to in more affluent times. All good things I hasten to add.
Perhaps now though it is time to put it behind us. We should have our own festival. Let’s paint the whole town yellow.