Tuesday, September 27, 2005



The final push to move out of the studio at Crillon-le-Brave saw me whiting out charcoaled telephone numbers - random symbols scratched next to clean squares where canvasses had been:

0044 208 ******** - Sally in South Norwood
00 44 1663 ******* - Dale in Whaley Bridge
00 44 1608 ******* - Kipper in Chipping Norton
and dear Anne and Clive tucked on a cliff almost beyond the network near St Ives.....

...And doing my accounts today I came across the receipts:

Smoothies, vegetarian breakfasts and nutty scrunchy salads from Bill's of Lewes for six weeks and then, essentially, for the next eight, pizza and curry - the only possibilities between 5.30-6.45 pm in Milton Keynes, Woking, Plymouth and Stoke on Trent.

Yesterday, for the first time in twelve years, the Glyndebourne tour started without me.

My girlfriend (the witness at our wedding and the principal cellist) called last night:

Me in the Vaucluse: "How's it going?"
She in Peckham: "Well, the conductor for the Mozart doesn't seem that inspired and that's just after a day..."

(We both fall silent remembering last year's Magic Flute:

Our conductor seemed to ride in from Oz on a surfboard and his very first words to us were: "Mozart's not really my thing". He continued: "....anyway he was in such a hurry he didn't really know what he was doing so let's change that crotchet to a quaver and that minim to a crotchet..."

- Spot the connection idiot: Quaver, quaver, quaver, crotchet/Comma, comma, comma, full-stop. Duh?

- and thus began a three month tour of sublime arias made nonsense by having their punctuation entirely pulled.

A said:
"Could you tell us what the text is here please?"
Surfbum Bruce replies: "Oh they're going through these trial thingies? - earth, fire, water?.... Nothing really")

She in Peckham: "We had our first continuo rehearsal today for Figaro. I got the choice of two parts: A clean one and yours. I chose yours, and God, you'd done all the translations of the texts! You were really prepared, girlfriend!"

(Another pause as I remember a pool in Beaumes de Venise: reclining under a fig tree in late August with the score of the Figaro and an Italian dictionary by my side, dipping into the wet cool every 20 minutes and discovering the meaning of the words I would wrap my sound around.

In my womb our child was growing and I was thrilled at the prospect of wrapping it in music for three months; of Mozart vibrating through the ribs of my cello in to it's emerging soul...)

Me in the Vaucluse:'"How's it going living in Spain?"
She in Peckham: "I saw a shaman there. He saw the wound I was carrying immediately....."

(Beneath our excited chatter there is a quiet space we now touch where there are no words; no need to say how every year, on the anniversary of her daughter's death, my heart sings a lullaby; no need to thank her for knowing, when the trumpeter proudly paraded his new-born around the pit, I would not be able to cope......)

As my first Vendage begins and I glimpse my first vines turning, the GTO cello section sail forth on the Sussex downs and, despite being thrilled to be home, there is a small part of me that really fancies sharing a pint, porky scratchings, a Mozart opera and a natter with my girlfriend.



Anonymous theinsider said...

You write beautifully. I always feel as if I'm there. It must be the artist in you. :)

1:46 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

I love the photo of the grapes!!
The bit about the pizza and curry at 5.30-6.45 makes me miss home....

2:31 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

I almost can't bear to read about your first vendage because I so long to be there myself and not in London. And meanwhile, you've been over at my place saying you miss Glyndebourne a bit and wouldn't mind some of the London things I was blogging about. I think it's very salutory to exchange these experiences, isn't it :-) Important to remember that wherever we are... there we are. And the beauty and allusiveness of your words, as always, brings it all home with pleasure and poignancy.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

ps. a virtual meditation centre is in session on Dale's 100 Days blog (link from his or my blogroll) in case you're interested.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

For me, that post captured the essence of the girlfriendship perfectly. I miss mine, too, when they're not on hand.

3:24 PM  

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