When I was writing yesterday’s blog, I forgot about about another incident that told us that the wall between east and west was about to crumble.
In September 1988, my elder daughter – just turned 17 – asked if she could skip school with seven or eight of her friends (all final year highschool students) to catch a train from Vienna to Budapest to go listen to the Bruce Springsteen Amnesty International Rock Tour to promote human rights. Budapest was the only Communist destination that agreed to be on the world tour route.
How cool is that? To play hooky by crossing the border between East and West. To go to a concert on human rights in a Communist country. To hear Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Youssou N’Dour – and the relatively unknown Tracy Chapman, all in one 8 hour concert.
Of course I said no.
Just kidding, just kidding. I said yes.
The school (Vienna International School) took a very dim view of the whole thing afterwards, and wrote – as I recall – a very snippy letter about it to the parents concerned, telling us – in effect – that our kids would fail their finals if we let them behave in such reprehensible manner, and what kind of lousy parents were we, blah-di-blah.
My daughter received the only detention class of her life and was heartily unimpressed with the school. (She went on to Oxford, so somehow I don’t think skipping a day’s class affected her career.)
Last night I asked her on Skype what she remembers about the day. Mostly, it seems, gadding about Budapest with her boyfriend and other friends before the concert! Oh, and Tracy Chapman.
One would have thought hearing The Boss sing Born in the USA in front of the Prime Minister and other Communist officials would have left some impact…
Ah, youth. Wasted on the young.