Context-sensitivity in ritual costume and music

Andrew Marr’s version of the famous, if apocryphal, George Brown story:

Attending an official reception in Peru, very inebriated, he approaches a willowy figure in scarlet for a dance. Brown is repulsed and protests grandly that he is Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; why could he not have a nice dance? The reply comes:

“For three reasons, Mr Brown. First because you are disgustingly drunk, second because that music is not a dance but our national anthem, and third because I am the cardinal archbishop of Lima.”

One thought on “Context-sensitivity in ritual costume and music

  1. Pingback: Tone of voice, and audiences | Stephen Jones: a blog

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