Day 97 of 100: Speak Like Churchill, or Jim Hacker…?!

Day 97 out of 100 to Learn Masonic Ritual, and just a few more days until Installation

Yesterday we rehearsed the Installation Ceremony, and this time scripted (or at least planned) out the ad-libs (the personal thanks) said to each person after they are invested into their office.

Today we learn to

Masonic Ritual, Day 97 of 100: Speak like Churchill, or at least like Jim Hacker!

Ok, what the heck do I mean there? Let me try and explain.

Basically, when you are performing ritual in Lodge then you need to “perform” it, not look like you’ve learnt it parrot fashion from the book. This is traditionally cited as the mark of a good ritualist – more than correctness.

A way to achieve this I have discovered is to talk like Churchill when he gives a speech. This isn’t a known tip, or even one that someone has suggested to me, but a little quirk that I spotted when watching “Yes, Minster” – I’ll explain in a bit.

If you ever listen to any of Churchill’s speeches he talks slowly and with gravitas. He pauses, adds emphasis on some words. Sentences build with intensity, then drop again. His speech is measured and controlled, with a slow tempo, yet that tempo fluctuates.

I first spotted this when watching some re-runs of “Yes, Minister” (a fictional BBC comedy series for the 1980’s which followed the career of Jim Hacker, a British Government Minister, who later ascended to Prime Minister). Whenever Hacker had visions of grandeur he would speak in a way that reflected his hero, Churchill.

Therefore, when rehearsing the ritual today, do it as so you are doing an impression of Winston Churchill. Don’t rush along under your breath, but really try to get into the role and add some Churchill-isms. You may be surprised how by just imitating Churchill you (like Jim Hacker) have added depth and solemnity to the Ritual.

Of course, it is well known that Churchill was Freemason, and it makes you wonder what being in the Lodge whilst Churchill delivered ritual would have been like!