17 Oct Candles in Jars
‘Amazing Grace’ is the moment. Written by former slave trader John Newton (‘who saved a wretch like me’), who then converted to Christianity and subsequently condemned slavery. Voices lift in harmonies, hands flutter up. We sit as insignificant flames in the dark. With a tendency to hypervigilance, I find the scene unsettling. The sound of helicopters competes with churning fountains. The row of fluorescent yellow jackets stand guard. Incense wafts, the bells of St Martin in the Fields toll eight. A giant papier maché curlew stands, wings swaying. I sit on the cold stone floor of Trafalgar Square “touching the earth and allowing the earth to be all of me,” in Brian’s words. The mic is passed between faiths. Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, other faiths and the agnostics. Some display their professions on placards to dispel the myth of the jobless and “unwashed” (which someone shouted at me this week). I smile at an ‘unco-operative crusty’ wearing their identity as ‘Compliance Analyst’. This feels like the moment to be here.