Eden Court display is a reminder of how rapidly hysteria fades away

by Colin Campbell

EDEN Court will receive £750,000 from a Scottish Government performing arts venues relief fund. It is among 20 venues across Scotland to get a share of £12.5 million.

The theatre is an important cultural venue for Inverness and the wider Highlands so any threat to its future has now been removed.

There’s no theatrical gaiety on the riverside these days, of course, with the building in lockdown, and no prospect of it reopening until December at the earliest.

The only presentation Eden Court has to offer remains the Black Lives Matter display, lit up in a ghostly shade of purple to catch the attention of passers-by, as it has been for weeks.

The Black Lives Matter display still lighting up Eden Court.

And it catches my attention just about every time. 

The message it sends out is an obviously worthy one.

But for me it also serves as a continuing reminder of how an event that takes place thousands of miles away can go round the world in a social media hurricane and strike here with Force 10 impact, generating a reaction of near-hysteria among some people who are frantic to “do something”. 

Which in turn causes others in positions of responsibility to leap into action in response, lest they are seen to commit the ultimate sin of “failing to do something”.

So in the BLM situation we had Inverness MP Drew Hendry claiming, after the killing of a black man in Minneapolis, that he had been the unlikely recipient of hundreds of protests from outraged constituents; we had the council issuing its own clarion we-must-all-strive-to-do-better call; and we had Eden Court presenting a theatrical account of a soul-searching meeting its management held in which there was anguish and apparent shame at their failure to recognise the racial injustice which they apparently considered endemic all around them.

And of course we had those well intentioned people rushing out with their roughly scrawled placards and posters to display on the Ness Bridge, with some others deciding, for reasons known only to themselves, to stand outside Nairn police station displaying their placards, as if there was some link between the daily activities at a local cop shop and the killing of George Floyd on the other side of the Atlantic. 

And then, remarkably – or maybe utterly predictably – this tidal wave of outrage vanished as rapidly as it had arrived.

Since then there have been, as far as I’m aware, no follow-up protests, no meetings, no further proclamations from local politicians and others on an issue which for all of four days appeared the most important thing in the world.

And as for those who ardently made their feelings known on the Ness bridge, well, it seems social media “trending” has moved on to other topics.

The remarkable events of that weekend and the non-existent aftermath are what I think of when I see Eden Court’s BLM display.

In the absence of anything else to lighten up the darkened theatre, it should remain there until it reopens. There are lessons to be learned from it. During its prolonged lockdown Eden Court has delivered at least one significant insight  – the “blink and you miss it” attention span of modern-day culture.



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