Performance

Sleeping Beauty

I will be taking part in the ballet school production of ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Adults are guests at the christening and at the wedding… I will have to make my costume. Mine is to be hot pink… I am a bit reticent about telling people to come: when I’ve mentioned that I go to ballet lessons, some people always seem to think that I’m professional standard, yet when other people say they play tennis, these same people don’t seem to expect any Wimbledon champions. Annoying!

We enjoyed the play , although the school benches were a bit hard to sit on, especially for the first half. There was a nice notice on a blackboard, writ large, in the entrance hall. It said, ‘First half: 1 hour 15 minutes; Interval: 15 minutes; Second half: 50 minutes’ together with a large arrow pointing to ‘Toilets’.

I did a little bit of playing: the first in about 18 months. This time I was sensible. I didn’t try to play any of the pieces I used to, so that I wouldn’t get despondent… There was a Julian Bream recital here quite recently which was inspiration. He played a lot of modern pieces which mostly I hadn’t heard before but which I very much enjoyed.

Tonight I went out and gave my first public recital for our recorder group. I didn’t do too badly I suppose. We went to X, which used to be called ‘The Home for Incurables’. (What an awful name.) It is a centre for people who are physically disabled (through brain damage, MS and other things people pray they don’t get) and unable to care for themselves.

The other thing I enjoyed so much in Toronto, tho’ not at all cultural, was a marvellous production of ‘Show Boat’ which I had never seen – and I was so stunned by all the dancing, the pretty dresses and music as the curtain went up, I almost cried. It must be 30 years since I saw a spectacle like that. Maybe I am a moron, but a bit of clean, uncomplicated fun is rather rare these days. I see the show has opened to a smash hit in New York.

Music/theatre/art

I am glad you got to ‘Cats’ – I wanted to go to see Wayne Slepe (isn’t that the wrong spelling? – it looks very queer) after I had heard him on some radio programme – his dancing always intrigues me even though I haven’t seen much of it. The words of ‘Cats’ must have been rather like listening to the Te Deum or anything else in church – it does help so much if the words swim back into one’s brain from long ago and one suddenly finds the choir seems to be singing sense instead of mumbo jumbo.

Elite Syncopations was sold out long before the Festival, but I’ve seen it on TV with that marvellous india-rubber man, Wayne Sleep. I ought to have seen the Degas exhibition but found the work in the garden too absorbing just then.

You’re quite right to have written off Francis Bacon the essayist in the 17th century – the other one is a way out mod. painter. He did a series of angular men on a loo, from different angles – and the Pope without a face and one rather clever one, a self-portrait sitting on a bed with his legs going [writing very illegible!] and his head spinning off the top – these are remembered from ages ago so could be a bit inaccurate! He’s definitely peculiar and into drugs etc. – not trained and works from cuttings and photographs; another horror one is a side of beef which in some way he interpreted the crucifixion – I hope it’s not two other people I’m remembering!

The concert was in our new church hall. The performance was very much a curate’s egg. The best performer probably was a lady who plays the harp but she chose to play a long suite which was way over my head. There was a baritone who would have had X putting her fingers in her ears – painfully loud he was in that chamber; two people playing duets on the piano who would have been enjoyable if they had practised together a little more, and so on.

Give me the radio any day, but I know that I am a bit cranky, or very much blinder than I should be as I find it v. tiring watching these enormous coloured pictures that dominate everybody’s sitting room.

my recorder

Last weekend I went to a concert of Baroque Christmas music. It was most enjoyable, and I have to say it was refreshing to hear something different from the usual carols. There were some recorder pieces in the concert. I think that those players’ recorders must be different from mine – mine never sounds like that!!!