Charles H. Spurgeon was visiting an elderly lady in an almshouse. He noticed on the wall a frame encasing a piece of paper with some writing on it, so he asked about it. The lady replied that it reminded her of an aged invalid man she had nursed many years before, who, appreciative of her kind care, had written his name on it in his final days. So she had framed it. After much persuasion Spurgeon was able to borrow the paper. When he took it to the bank, they exclaimed, “We’ve been wondering to whom the old gentleman left his money.” Hundreds of pounds were standing idle to his credit which now were transferred to her name. Living in poverty for years, she had actually been worth a great deal.
Over the last few weeks the country has been transfixed on the amazing run of the England football team in Euro 2020. I was initially put off watching the football after I saw the team shamefully bowing to BLM at the start of each game. But as the excitement has grown in the country, I have found myself irresistibly pulled to watch a few games in the tournament. The collective national gaze over England’s Euro 2020 is an example of what Tony Reinke, the author of Competing Spectacles , calls a spectacle. A spectacle is something visible that captures our collective attention. It is that moment when society’s eyes and brains focus on something projected at us. This may be a big political story, a sports event, a new film or a badly behaved influencer. We primarily experience spectacles through technologies we use. I have been experiencing the spectacle of Euro 2020 through our television, but others have consumed it on the mobile or in person. Most spectacles are consumed through ha