Saturday, January 28, 2006


For one afternoon our iron colleague melted. It probably had nothing to do with the imagined red squirrel bottom I placed on his music stand, but for a moment he did. In time with the sudden freezing of the main arteries across France, however, all channels of communication between he and the rest of us are now officially down. When I am not desperately trying to translate a torrent of insults into French in my head, I feel the heartbreaking isolation of him shivering with judgement in his cage, and that is almost more painful to observe than my own anger.

(I am finding that the language problem creates a useful moment between feeling and action. In the process of translation my verbal arsenal loses its power and I lay my weapons down over and over again, taking yet another breath…. Anyway, what IS French for “Do you really think you’re so much *******better than the rest of us? And if you do, you’re ****** **** ******bonkers. If you’re so **** riddled with judgement you just end up playing like a ******* on a ********in******and it’s********, so get the****of your high horse and let’s make some******music together, or **** ***”?)

Given the very sombre subject, joy (or lack thereof) seems to be a problem. Pockets of it are exploding all over the place like rebellious pustules: Stage left, the musos are holding secret rehearsals without HIM to reconnect with their pleasure at playing together, and have surreptitiously joggled positions so that the positive vibe can reach the bass without having to pole-vault over the Berlin Wall. Stage left-of-centre, meanwhile, a trio of thespians – an angular Raybanned Californian and his two muses - have taken to spontaneously choreographing the arias -Cain’s Vendetta song becoming an upbeat reggae grind, and Eve’s lament a florid dance of the Three Graces. In the costume department, a piece of cloth was ordered to hide a luscious cleavage and has been ripped up, and in the kitchen the wine cubis are getting lighter much faster.

My own personal survival kit varies little, but is always different – a long run in the park, a rose scented bath (for the piles), meditation (and yes, despite the above, I still try to include a few minutes of loving kindness) and soup.

The snow has come in huge silly flakes and the sound of Lyon has been transformed into an almost imperceptible air of padding and sliding. In the park all the luny runners are out – the waltzing runner, the singing runner, the muttering runner, the one-armed runner and the bare chested runner….

….and I am finally on my way home to see two grey and two tabby cat ears peep up out of the white carpet.


Blogger Sarah Mackenzie said...

He he he ... I thought that swearing was one of the first things that one learned in a language ;-) That aside, I think that the lapse in verbal communication, as you yourself have observed, has given you an ability to stand outside his anger and see it in a different and very sensitive way. Maybe not talking is sometimes a good thing. I'll have to try that with my 3 year old.

We are enjoying a blanket of white here in the south-west of France too. Maybe snowballs today. Certainly not enough for a decent - or even indecent - bonhomme de neige.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

I'm guessing this has already been tried, but has anyone sat down and discussed things with this man yet?

Surely the effects of his behaviour need to be pointed out to him. He is a professional musician - he must understand the communal nature of the organism that is an orchestra? If his behaviour has such a detrimental effect on the music, then it has to be addressed? Where is the conductor in all of this? Isn't it her/his job to manage this kind of issue?

Of course, there is always a chance that he has personal issues and is not even aware of how his behaviour is affecting everyone else.

People are rarely as active in their interactions as they appear to be.

But I suspect I'm preaching to the converted!

9:29 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

"Imagined red squirrel bottom" - LOL!

10:47 PM  
Blogger zhoen said...

Wheatgerm. About 3-4 tablespoons a day, in whatever you like (Cream of wheat works for me.) And extra glasses of water.
(For the piles, eases the, um... flow.) Without causing too much gasousness.

5:31 PM  

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