by Edwina Charles
Jubilation – Rejoicing – Smiles all around – not a single sad face – Families with colourful children, buzzing about like happy bees in a spring-field of gorgeous flowers … there is even a genuine Mayor with the golden chain of office hugging his shoulders, as in the Elizabethan Festival time of merry making – but thank god without their loose morals …
And we are only in North London’s single sumptuous Arts Centre (named The Arts Depot), in midwinter (6th February 2016, 7 pm) not even Spring or Summer, yet already blossoming with extraordinary warmth, and enthusiasm, and sheer love – I have never been anywhere experiencing so much genuine love all around – extraordinary, and remarkable. I cannot decipher how the organizers had achieved such effervescent atmosphere, but it was unfailingly there in the air … I wouldn’t have minded parting with my heart there and then if someone had needed it for a transplant!
And who were the organizers? The North London Hospice (NLH), a most humanitarian organization brimful of specially trained nurses and doctors, helped by countless self-sacrificing volunteers, altogether a team of angels, who make whatever left of a terminally-ill patient’s life bearable and joyous, looking after their families in grief, comforting and consoling them as much as the suffering patient soon to be gone forever … and all for Love and nothing else!
Incredible – especially in our cruel world of money-greed and thieving bankers, yes, indeed it is incredible, but absolutely totally true and free … But even such NLH-angels are forced into scraping and sweating to raise impossible amounts of hard cash every year to keep their humanitarian service free for all – the NLH being multi-faith (including those of no faith at all).
It all began in 1984, from the flat (in Muswell Hill) of a kind Jewish lady Harriet Copperman, inspired by Dr. Chris Handley, the founder of the idea, and Melvyn Carlowe, a triumvirate of magnificent people who restored the universal faith in human dignity.
Caring for the old, the infirm, and the terminally-ill presents governments with massive problems. The Nazi solution is simple (one for the idiots) – kill them all, build crematoria instead of hospices!
But if we, sane people are not careful, we may yet see those days we thought were gone for-ever, return with a vengeance… A clinic in Switzerland, the country of high capitalism, global tax-avoiders, and shameless looting of Jewish wealth by the Nazis, charges money to murder voluntary distressed patients in back garden wooden shacks, naming their Nazi act as “Euthanasia”, a classical Greek word even the Nazis would be happy to use for their Holocaust of the Jews …
NLH needs over £6 million every year – similarly another, Farleigh Hospice (FH) in Essex, founded by Cicely Saunders in the 1950s, the first of its kind. Miss Saunders made herself qualify in 3 different professions (as a nurse, a social worker and ultimately a doctor) to realize her exemplary passion for helping the dying – it seems she was in love with her first patient, David Tasma – a Polish refugee … what a moving, heart-warming lesson to all the Brits in our midst who wish today’s refugees ill, escaping from countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria) destroyed by our own Arms industries. The FH needs to raise unbelievably over 8 thousand English pounds (£8,376 to be precise) every day to carry on its angelic work.
Let us return to our own NLH – it had the brilliant idea of fundraising by organizing the first North London talent contest, at North London’s premier theatre, the Arts Depot, with … 200 participants, among them endless Caribbean-style Steel Drum bands, groups of Americanized cheerleaders, a very talented singer/songwriter Nicola Mousicos, a ballerina (Emma Berens) who calls herself rather self-deprecatingly The Dancing Grannie who could do the splits as well as any under-age Chinese acrobat! I am sorry I cannot mention all the two hundred by name…
The competition was won by a curious group of 7 cellists, calling themselves Massive Violins – a nice pun on the cello as a big violin! They sang a medley of songs from the famously politely anti-Nazi feature film The Sound of Music, including the world-famous Edelweiss (= nobly white).
The DJ Dean Martin, and choreographer Tracie Harlow compeered the evening with sweet kindness and warmth, flanked by wonderfully professional judges Jordan Rakei, Elizabeth Harris, Maggie Paterson, and Jemma Brown, unfortunately forced to be less critical, always encouraging, on such occasions – talent shows are a bit of vegetable soups, truly a Russian borscht where any veggie ingredient is thrown in which is handy to the housewife at that moment of cooking. I loved the joke by the Massive Violins (quoted in the program) that they were invited but declined participating in Britain Got Talent TV show, “worried about being beaten by a dog!”, as a real silly dog did win it once!
For my tastes and highly critical judgment, the clear winner of the evening was indeed Miss Loussin-Torah Pilikian, just graduated (last year) from the University of York, with first Honours Degree in Philosophy. Miss Harlow introduced her with great warmth, and humour, saying that she better get her Armenian right, as Loussin’s father is in the audience and may create trouble afterwards … adding that “Loussin’s mets-mama, her Armenian grandmother” was looked after by the NLH team, hence, Loussin’s desire to pay back with a … song, as her own affectionate tribute of love to the team. It was a tearful moment.
And Loussin came to the stage, a stunningly beautiful young lady of 21, an … edelweiss flower if one could ever be found in London – a large white flower in her hair, the symbol of the aristocratic Yorkists in the War of the Roses…
And she sang an Etta James classic At Last, pitch-perfect from the first note to the last, with an amazingly beautiful timbre of a mezzo-soprano, deep and powerful like old wine or mature port, perfectly articulated, projected and modulated.
If I were an Indian and believed in re-incarnation, I would insist that Loussin is the great Marion Anderson incarnate – Marion was the first and still unsurpassed interpreter of what used to be called Negro Spirituals, the proto-source of modern Soul; thank God for the Internet that you can see/hear Marion Anderson’s miraculous greatest masterpiece of all time – They Crucified my Lord.
I am so glad to note that Loussin does not seem to be in the mainstream repertoire of modern sex-and-drugs Pop music idiocies, manifesting extra-narcissism and exposing everything else that has nothing to do with music!
I prophesy that Loussin shall become a phenomenal artist like an Aretha Franklin – and one day, may even sing Marion Anderson’s all-time great in her own interpretation for her own generation.
Loussin’s costume sense – a tasteful decent white décolleté, in high heels with a large Yorkist white flower in her hair – an elegant use of the microphone – what poise, what Stanislavsky-ian natural theatricality, she stands there on the stage like a perfect Great Master Dutch painting to behold…
The vocal judge Jordan Rakei, a multi-instrument musician and record producer himself, awe-struck pronounced as much in his own words – I was too moved to write down his precise words, but I distinctly remember his unreserved praise of Loussin’s “poise” and creative “maturity” beyond her age.
Mr Rakei would not know of course that Loussin-Torah Pilikian, is the daughter of the most prominent Armenian intellectual, Professor Hovhanness I. Pilikian.
Like father, like daughter, as we the British used to say in olden times… updating this, I must add also like Mother, as Mrs. Clarice Pilikian has university degrees in Philosophy, Psychology, and Counselling.
On my way out, I bumped into Professor Pilikian, over the moon with his daughter’s success – very many people congratulating Loussin, taking selfies. Yet the Professor’s happiness seemed tinged with sadness. He took me aside and said;
“There are high-up perverts in Britain who wish to legalize Euthanasia Nazi-style, instead of campaigning to increase the government funding for Britain’s Hospices they could be proud of – none of those lordly fools in government discussions have ever said in parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, look at our own national record and be proud of our own humanitarian hospices, let us subsidize them 100%, nay, by a thousand percent … instead, the North London (and other Hospices) receive crumbs from a government that enriches the tax-avoiders in … Cayman Island(s).
“I feel inconsolably sad when I think of such state-criminality, of starving such immensely and intensely uplifting humanitarian institutions while subsidizing fully useless Trident nuclear missiles … while in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe where Socialism unfortunately bombed, nevertheless the much resented President Mugabe inspired by the British model opened the Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Hospice in 1980.”
I was speechless – I could sign any petition demanding of our government a 100% subsidy of all of our Hospices throughout the United Kingdom, and our North London Hospice in the first instance.