Post 40: Thoughtful, truthful and original
The busy time in Handel Hendrix land continues. The week began with a stimulating board, staff and volunteer awayday – not that “away” this year as we only made it as far as SW1. This is an annual forum at which we discuss topics outside the usual “manning the pumps” meetings. Themes vary but tend to focus on relevant issues of the day. As you may be able to guess this year’s relevant issue was Mr Hendrix. Firstly we thought about the matter of the name of the Hendrix space and how this would sit alongside the Handel House name. This was a pretty extensive discussion and as yet I can’t report any conclusions but I feel we made some progress and are a little clearer about what we should aim to achieve.
The other subject we focussed on was about how we plan to present some of the more challenging topics the Hendrix exhibit might raise, specifically sex, drugs and race. In general we concluded that sex and drugs are pretty much a given for a rock star and we don’t have anything particularly interesting, new or relevant to say about the topic and we perhaps don’t need to focus on this. It will by the nature of the subject be implicit. This would also have the benefit of meaning that children would not need to have restricted visits. However on the matter of race we feel it probably is a subject that we should introduce and address. It is relevant that he was a black man performing to mainly white audiences. Although as one of the cultural historians on the board explained Hendrix was part of the “alternative” London scene so racism per se did not impact him as much as it must have done in the US. The alternative London set I gather were somewhat separate from the general public, but day to day it surely must have been likely that Hendrix experienced some race related issues here. Another research area to pursue….