Page 73 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 73

 Welcome to our new members...
Rosendale Allotment Association 4 Individual Members
   of all types do commit themselves to the support of a team, a player, an actor, a singer or a band and all of these have an internal purpose and cohesion for the spectator or member of the audience. Those allegiances are a personal and private choice. Arsenal or Spurs? Hoping that your team will not be relegated this season is not
that remote from the hoping that this season your parsnips will germinate properly. All of these public events have guidelines or informal practices which allow public expression of that personal private commitment. A well-worked
or well-taken goal, a brilliant fielder’s catch, a hole in one, a heartfelt blues number, a brilliant operatic aria, an own goal, applause after a performance,
a penalty given, a penalty denied
all provide occasions for the public outlet of feelings. But what is seen as appropriate varies. In football there is
a background of competing collective club identities in soccer crowds which gives an adversarial edge to games that adds to the drama but transfer that to theatre and I think it would be regarded as unacceptable behaviour. Some very
well-known actors break their silence on occasions to voice real concerns about the behaviour of audiences who arrive late, or unconcernedly disrupt their performances – not least by smartphones ringing. The timeframe
in all these cases is far, far shorter
than what could be applied to allotment work, where of course, the growing season sets the scale. Within it, events can be managed to mark the turning points – planting dates in the spring,
an open day in National Allotments Week, harvest show in summer or early autumn, and that most traditional of rent days Michaelmas Day when growth and harvest are over – more or less. Each of those points in the growing year can and should be marked by some public event in which all plotholders can be invited to take part.
I hope those comparisons are not too fanciful. They do also beg questions about the way in which each of us, individually and collectively, come to form beliefs about the correct ways to behave both privately and publicly. Those beliefs are changing and have can be managed to mark the turning points – planting dates in the spring, an open day in National Allotments Week, harvest show in summer or early autumn...
always changed. In the present time, one of the biggest challenges is how we deal with the changes that all aspects of information technology have brought to us and continue to impact on our lives. Indispensable for us all of course, even in the prosaic ways in which allotment secretaries can keep allotment holders informed with a lot less real physical effort, capable of a great deal of good but with a darker side as we all know. “We are all connected” “We are all Celebrities” “We are all Addicts” “We are all Trolls” “We are all Liars” are
just some chapter headings in Richard Seymour’s (yes he is a Londoner) recent book, The Twittering Machine. From
the individual, through all groups and
at every level of government, there is
no settled view yet. In the surveillance society the boundaries between private and public are blurring and shifting.
Jeff Barber
         Allotment and Leisure Gardener 73

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