IT’S Culture Night tonight — and the Rugby World Cup opens in London so most tastes will be catered for one way or another in the next 24 hours. And, if not, then Kerry and Dublin footballers will knock lumps out of each other on Sunday as they try to rekindle the magic the All-Ireland finals between these counties generated a few decades ago.
Culture Night is a relatively new event on our calendar but over the last decade it has almost become the national farewell-to-summer event, indoors at least. Over 3,000 events are scheduled around the island and 350,000 people are expected at 1,500 venues. There is a wide and diverse programme, everything from a Big Fat Gay Wedding — Belfast; to a new music festival in Cork — Sounds from a Safe Harbour — where the emphasis will be on modern music.
Entire careers in academia and in the media have been built — and are being sustained — on a simple question: What is culture and what does it reveal about us?
Surely that is a question for the uncertain and the shy, those fretting that the balance between enjoyment and what is regarded as propriety — whatever that is today — might be thrown out of kilter.
Whatever it is, or might be, it is a release and a positive expression of our inner selves — for that reason alone we should all try to take part by doing a bit more than watching the rugby or the football from the couch.
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