Pure escapism or just pure joy? 

Mandy Sutter reflects on the X-Factor

mandy-sutter 3I am secretly addicted to The X Factor. I say secretly because my partner, Tim, can’t stand the programme so I tend to watch it when he’s out. Usually I tell him I’ve watched it but sometimes I don’t (a woman has got to have SOME secrets). I agree there are bad things about the programme (for one thing it vaunts the celebrity culture) but I love seeing young wannabees singing, and am continually amazed at their talent and ability to present a song on stage.

In the current series, there is a Ghanaian reggae act called Reggie and Bollie. They aren’t brilliant singers but they always bounce onto the stage with an infectious sense of celebration and party, and usually get the audience on their feet dancing.

One of the judges, Nick Grimshaw (a BBC Radio 1 DJ) said this week that while there was a lot to worry about in the world at the moment, Reggie and Bollie always made everyone forget about it for a few minutes.  He said their music was pure escapism.

That was the phrase that made me sit up. It is really true that feeling joyous is an escape? What if joy were an equally valid (or even more valid) response to life than ‘seriousness’?

And for those of us who are on the Urban Retreat, will we see this differently after a week of consciously enjoying more fun moments?

There will be more from Mandy tomorrow and every day this week