OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had a family viewing of the film Mary Poppins during the Christmas break. With the new Tom Hanks/Emma Thonpson film around it’s in the air again…

A few years ago, whilst studying at the Dumfries campus of Glasgow University, I became embroiled in what I though was a rather pointless discussion about the Marxist interpretation of Mary Poppins. This eventually foundered on the rocks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over the issue of what type of coffee pot he had equpiied Sherlock and Watson with. It was difficult (for me) to understand what other sort of coffee pot the amateur detective could have been given, without the story losing a measure of credibility.

Reflecting on Mary P once again, it was not so much my Marxist eyes, as my ears for irony that were brought into sharp focus, for the song of the elder Dawes seemed to hold meanings that it had not held when the film first aired. That ‘tuppence’ – a euphemism, btw, in some quarters, for the female genitalia – withheld from the grasping fingers of the Dick Van Dyke character carries the irony.

In the song, the cautious and prudent investing of the money – as opposed to spending it on wild bird food – is being encouraged, and it is precisely this that the song, and the story as a whole, satirises. Let the bankers lighten up a bit, the story exhorts, and fly a kite or two…which of course our own bankers did, in excelsis! And didn’t that kite, those kites, become a wonderful metaphor for what was to follow. Kites, of course, only fly when there are strings attached. Tangle the strings, or cut them, and the kite crashes.

Something worth reflecting on there I think. Here are a few more reflections. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I hope you had a Happy Christmas. I wish you a Happy New Year!