Dear Reader: Age of empty hysteria + a legend steps out of shadows

The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers.
The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers.

A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

Truth, as the old adage goes, is the first casualty of war but are British manners now becoming the victim of the times we live in?

I could quote several examples of stories passed to me in recent months by people who were very, very angry about something.

On all those occasions the stories turned out not to be true.

I daren’t mention what or who I’m talking about, by the way, or I, myself, would risk finding myself in the firing line.

Of course, that very thought is part of the problem.

Who dares admit any chink in their armour or argument if there’s an expectation of a mercilessly hostile reaction?

It hasn’t always been that way.

There’s always been complaints and people have always complained to newspapers.

Thank goodness.

But when I first joined the Harrogate Advertiser senseless fury was rare and debate was rarely a fact-free zone.

Somehow it feels like standards have slippedand social media hasn’t helped.

For every voice of reason in the digital world there seems to be two or three indulging their freedom to say whatever they feel. The truth often lies in shades of grey but where do you find it when the world has turned into black and white?

I may be wrong. There may be more to the decline of British manners.

Perhaps in an era of austerity, Brexit and deep political divides, people are quicker to draw battle lines because there is more to battle about?

Spare a thought for Ken Scott.

Since he moved to Hampsthwaite over three years ago he’s come to love village life, the community, the scenery, Sophie’s café.

For the previous 50 years he was accustomed to living, firstly, in London, then LA and, finally. Nashville.

Since he moved to Hampsthwaite this likable and knowledgable man hasn’t mentioned John, Paul, George and Ringo, David Bowie, Elton John, Iggy Pop and Duran Duran.

He came to know all of above names well in his capacity as a producer, co-producer or engineer of many of their most famous records in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, in particular.

But its not a subject that tends to come up as he’s walking his dog in the village fields or popping in for a drink in the Joiner’s Arms.

Why would it be?

But the cat, as they say, will finally be out of the bag tomorrow night when he walks onto the stage of Hampsthwaite Memorial Hall.

The occasion is a fundraiser for Hampsthwaite Action Group in their campaign against housing developments.

Ken will be the star of the show at an event sure to be packed with neighbours and fellow Hampsthwaite-ians.

All he’s got to do is talk about himself and his past and his role as producer, co-producer or engineer for John, Paul, George and Ringo, David Bowie, Elton John, Iggy Pop and Duran Duran.

(This article was first puiblished on Thursday, September 6)