It was just a few days ago, after a workshop I attended on what's known as our Professional Learning Day, that I found myself contemplating Lear's great, sad, mad lines: When we are born we cry, that we are come / To this great stage of fools. Said contemplation followed upon an interesting digression as to whether an optimistic view of life was reasonable and something that should be 'taught' to students. I noted that this would be difficult to ask of any reasonable pessimist, but I don't think my objection was really understood. Meditating on a necessarily tragic view of life I retreated into Lear.
And today, on this Great Day of Folly, I find myself thinking on those lines again after playing Gentle Giant's magnificent live album capturing them at their most brilliant on the European tour in 1976 nicely entitled Playing the Fool. There's a neat irony in the title in that you'd be a fool not to recognise just how great they were, yet within three years they were finished as a musical force, swept away by the folly of changing fashions.