The gridlock apocalypse and total lack of perspective caused by the recent “Yes. No. Maybe. Sorry, what was the question?” attitude to whether we should fill up our jerry cans, water bottles and bottle tops with petrol appears to have died down in the local neighbourhood, presumably meaning that the locals can go back to their normal business of stabbing each other instead, as happened in Croydon on Saturday night. This happens with depressing regularity in south London, and it is hard not to be a little depressed by the drunken and aggressive antics of young men (in the main) come the weekend.
On more musical matters, though, I have set to work on my arranging for Korea, which will involve some hitting of musical targets, given the various forces involved, and on Friday I played for a funeral in north London. To give credit where credit is due, the tube and the overland train delivered me both there and back without a hitch, laying to rest my worries as to whether I would make it in time. It transpired as well that both the other musicians involved – trumpeter and singer – had worked with me before, so it was a cosy and convivial atmosphere, as much as funerals can be.
In the evening it was the turn of the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir, and we set to work on With Thy Might for the first time. I imagined that this might have its tricky moments, and there were a few quizzical looks here and there, but we seemed to make good progress on the piece for the first run through and I hope that at least some people grasped where the work is coming from, as they say.
Beyond that lay a busy weekend. On Saturday I was tutoring in the morning and then down to Brighton in the afternoon and evening for a second concert with the Esterhazy choir, the same repertoire as last week and, again, a big play. Yesterday was Palm Sunday, which is always a busy one for organists, so there was Widor in the morning up at Hampstead and then the St. John Passion in Kensington in the evening.
It being A Significant Day as well there was champagne for lunch and sneakily at other times as well, and that will be carrying on today, which will be a day off from work in lieu of yesterday.
Given that, as of the new month, this is also a house without a TV licence, I shall have to find my education, entertainment and information elsewhere than the television, but there is good news on two different fronts in this matter. Firstly the excellent and bizarrely unknown Ed Reardon’s Week returns to Radio 4 tomorrow (Tuesday) evening in the 18:30 slot.
This is by some margin the best thing on the radio and, most likely, the best thing the Beeb puts out, currently on series 8 and still firing on all cylinders. If you don’t know this show, then this is an ideal opportunity to catch up on the previous seven series and share irascible Ed’s disdain for all things jargonese and bureaucratic, and several other contemporary annoyances too. Anybody with a cat called Elgar gets my vote.
Secondly the Significant Day brought with it something which is definitely going to tick all those Reithian boxes, namely the board game 1960: The Making Of The President.
This is something which has been on my radar for a while, and designed by the same chap who made Twilight Struggle, the highest rated game out there according to those in the know (Monopoly is ranked 7,858th, by the way). Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a keen player of these kinds of things, and am happy to stand up and be counted. For me the hours spent involved in these antics represent the very definition of quality time – an intellectual pursuit, an opportunity to leave behind daily toil and, most importantly, a chance to share enjoyment with those who matter. I am glad that my life these days allows me the chance to spend time on this.
I’ve been fascinated by tricky Dick for a while, and not just because of John Adams’s Nixon in China, but also the whole personality of the man and his ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and, it must be said, do the opposite even more spectacularly.
I had no idea that the 1960 US election was so close, neither that so many issues came into play. In many ways it was the first modern election, and I am looking forward to this one hitting the table. Needless to say, I’ll be playing as Nixon.