100 years in the making...
The centenary of WW1 has produced some very emotional and memorable works of art and chances to mark a key moment in history.
Last year I was asked by the RCS and The Lady R Foundation to help promote their centenuary production of Britten's War Requiem at The Royal Albert Hall on Remembrance Sunday. This prestigeous concert raised money for Veteran's Aid which meant I couldn't use an iconic Poppy image but found a beautiful shot by photographer Ernest Brookes, donated free by The National Library of Scotland.
The concert was a wonderful (although challenging) musical event which did a great job in raising awareness and funds for an important cause.
Across the country the anniversary was marked in many different and special ways. The most remarkable and memorable was the Poppy Moat around the Tower of London - sponsored by The Royal British Legion 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' which everyone understood and wanted to be part of. I went down on 11 November at 11am but couldn't get near it, I still felt part of the event, even on the south bank when the time came the traffic stopped, even the boats silently drifted and the crowds were hushed. A very special moment.
There has been some controversy about Sainsbury's 'Christmas is for Sharing' advert (Created by AMV BBDO) and whether it's cashing in on the event - but it is a very special and emotional film, clearly celebrating a remarkable event and made in partnership (and raising money for) The Royal British Legion. It stands head and shoulders above the other Christmas offerings, because this is a special year and this film will be remembered.
As a personal statement I wrapped a tree in a neglected but poignant first world war poem, written on bandages, on a quiet part of Tooting Common.