Many years ago I caught a snippet of something on Radio 4 which included a sketch about how difficult it is for Hell to hold a Country singer. The gist of it was as follows: Hell is the summation of all the pain and damage one human being can do to another, everything a person can do to hurt themselves and the fears and failings of the human race heaped into a big pile and dealt out in chunks to the unfortunate souls who are consigned there for eternity. An on top of that the inhabitants are physically mocked and tortured for the general amusement of the demons in charge.
Avoiding for a moment the cheap jokes at the expense of industries and sectors whose current working environment might sound a lot like that…
The problem with this kind of Hell is it can’t hold down a Country singer. Faced with any diccomfort, hardship or ill treatment they simply write is song about it, and feel better. Even worse, they make other people feel better too. All of a sudden life seems more bearable because there’s a song and a cheery singer taking away the pain.
Hell is no place for a Country singer.
I’m not sure I recognise this parody of a Country singer perfectly, and I’m fairly certain there are some assumptions about Hell there, but I take the wider point. Music and song in particular can be a real tonic for despair. My favourite albums include relatively guilty pleasures from artists I wish I could emulate but fear I couldn’t match. Country, Dance, Gospel, Rock, and so many more with a common virtue – they make me feel good and drive away the dark. May it ever be so.