surinenglish

Power dangers

Power To All Our Friends warbled Cliff Richard back in 1973, accompanying himself with an odd open palm hand-punching gesture which, presumably, was designed to distract us from just how dreadful the song was. Sadly, it didn't. Remarkably, said ditty came third in the Eurovision song contest in the same year - Lord only knows what the standard of the rest of the entries must have been like.

Anyway the word 'power' has appeared consistently in the press recently whether it be related to a sad assortment of Hollywood sleaze buckets or to embarrassingly inept attempts at regional independence much closer to home. It's certainly a very interesting concept.

Some say money gives you power but that's not really true (although having no money does, sadly, render you largely powerless). I've had the misfortune to be seated at tables with people rolling in dough and quite often - though certainly not always - they've been the least powerful people in the room. No discernible sense of humour, poor manners and a bizarre sense of entitlement are just a few of the characteristics that some very rich people can display which, of course, means they command no respect from those in their company which, in turn, leaves them powerless in that situation.

What does make people genuinely powerful, then? As implied above, a finely tuned sense of humour can make someone very powerful indeed. Rapier wit can cut through in almost any circumstances, no matter how ostensibly intimidating they might first appear. Treating others with respect and courtesy also contributes to the power a person may have. I've lost count of the times I've heard of somebody being hailed as having 'charisma' when, in fact, it's simply that they've had good manners. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is, indeed, king.

This week, the Malaga comedian Chiquito de La Calzada died aged 85 after a long and illustrious career which brought joy to millions. Married to Pepa for 62 years until her death in 2012, Chiquito (real name Gregorio) was renowned for his courtesy, generosity and humility. The outpouring of heartfelt affection for him in the last few days from both young and old alike has been deeply heartwarming.

There are, I fear, a few 'powerful' figures knocking around Hollywood who could only dream of achieving that kind of greatness, even if they lived to be a hundred.

RIP Chiquito.