To mark Martin Luther King Day (yesterday), here’s me doing a song to bring peace and harmony to the world. I was inspired by Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney asking: “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord – why don’t we?”
Well, I don’t mean to sound funny, but piano keys find it easy to live together because they have no central nervous system and are not capable of anger or revenge. An earlier version of this (my) song (called “Ivory and Ivory”) was recorded for BBC Radio 2’s Richard Herring: That Was Then, This Is Now, where I suggested that the apartheid era could have been ended by arranging black and white households in South African neighbourhoods in the same sequence of the black and white keys on a piano keyboard, with giant hammers coming out of the back each house that could strike piano wires to make one note per household. The members of each household, black and white, could organise to jump up and down in their houses in sequence and learn to play chopsticks.
In practice, this idea proved too complicated and they organised a Truth And Reconciliation commission instead.
PS. As usual, Democracy Now! put out the best MLK day broadcast. Yesterday’s DN! featured a recently unearthed recording of MLK speaking in St Paul’s Cathedral, London in December 1964.