Tuesday, February 08, 2005


was there one image that could capture the sting concert, held in the far north west of delhi two nights ago?


as sting sang 'englishman in new york' on stage, his magnified face projected on screen for those too far back and the strobe pyrotechnics of the lightshow dazzled the night, and the silent metro train went gliding behind, ever ten minutes or so.

one photograph could have captured it all. the global music superstar, in a world class show (with world class prices), with a world class metro rail behind it all.
delhi, captured in that photograph, is suddenly a 'global' city.

which feels very good, especially if you, like me swear by public transport, and have grown into adulthood listening to the man, and swearing by his music. delhi is now a global city, and even the Delhi Police seems to realise that, and didn't harass people too much at the show.

which all is very heady, and very disconcerting, becuase the slightly frumpy, down at heel city you have come to love has suddenly become a high society page three type - and you're not quite sure you like what's happened, and is happening.

what were the costs, what were the histories, what were the social forces behind that photograph of global delhi that i just described? the history of dispossessions, of the reshaping of the city....

yes, the concert was brilliant... two of the first three songs were direct references to the tsunami...
'message in a bottle', and 'all this time', about a burial at sea...

teachers told us
the romans built this place
they built the walls and the temples of an edge of the empire garisson town
they lived and they died
they prayed to their gods
but the stone gods did not make a sound
and their empire crumbled
until all that was left were the stones the workmen found...

oh yes,
i'm an alien
i'am a legal alien
i'm a stinglishman in new delhi...

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