I have just re-watched Shane Meadows excellent documentary 'Made of Stone', a film about the history, and reformation, of the rock band The Stone Roses. He is a massive fan of the band and the project was (obviously) a labour of love. There was a scene in which the band announced a free gig, in which the first 1,000 people to arrive at the box office (with an item of band memorabilia) were issued with wristbands to gain entry. All of this was filmed. Within minutes, people arrived at the box office, running, sweating, in a panic. Many were interviewed. They couldn't believe it. They were beside themselves. Their favourite band - no, not their favourite band, one of the reasons that life was worth living - were playing at this venue after a gap of 20 years! Forget about the second coming, this was up there and beyond it! Such devotion was obvious, but such oneness - a collective understanding about the relevance of this event - was even more palpable. They entered the gig as one, and left it believing that they could change the world. I recognised it...
Last September I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to see Kate Bush's comeback tour. Here was an artist that I had a strong affiliation with, through a love of her music and identifying with the era that her music was a backdrop to. Some artists 'speak' to you. Kate spoke to me. On arrival at the Hammersmith Apollo on that special night, it was obvious that the 3,500 other souls who were attending the gig felt the same. When the, admittedly, mature woman in her mid-50s entered the stage, we all saw the same Kate of our youth. Nothing had changed. We all saw. We were all one. We left the venue thinking that we could change the world.
Whether or not I am in the car singing along with One Direction, Katy Perry or Taylor Swift with my wife and daughters; or sitting in Mark's front room getting misty eyed with a healthy dose of Neil Young, music is a great unifier. It makes you believe.
And so does natural history.
I have been at some great twitches in my time. The (yet again mentioned) Wallcreepers. The Cornwall Varied Thrush. The Scilly Orphean Warbler. The Portland Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The Kent Golden-winged Warbler. The Norfolk (How Hill) Black-and-white Warbler. I've seen rarer. But I've not been present at other birds that have elicited such oneness, such connection. Each was anticipated. Each was welcomed with collective gasps and appreciation. The same could be said for sea-watches, visible migration spectacle and falls of migrants that I have been lucky - no, privileged - over the years to witness. The sharing of wonder, the knowledge that you are not alone in the appreciation of and, yes, obsession of the world around you.
You are not alone. This collective power should be used to shape the way humanity treats our fragile world. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to plunder my music collection for a healthy dose of unity.