Football, hymns and funerals

The Guardian report on the funeral of Rhys Jones, the boy murdered in Liverpool last month, spent some time on the use of music. It was interesting in that it showed the re-embedding of pieces of music in new contexts, in three different ways. The playing of the Z-Cars theme (a terrace anthem at Everton, of whom he was a fan) on the organ, is in one sense relatively conventional – the use of a favourite piece of secular music at a funeral, and one which many of those present would previously have sung at Goodison Park. Also quite usual was the choice of hymns which he probably sang at school. Most interesting, I thought, was ‘Abide with me’ – a hymn of the nineteenth century, translated many years ago into use at the Cup Final, and now transferred back into church again.