I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Right from the horse's mouth

It’s pleasant to loll on your couch (Naked, if it’s summer), before your own loudspeakers, listening to Symphony For A Thousand then switching to Sinatra’s Stars Fell On Alabama. No restrictions, physical or artistic. You could also get drunk except Sinatra doesn’t go with wine.

But it only works via self-delusion. The Mahler can involve four or five hundred instrumentalists and choristers. Listen again to your speakers. Does that really sound like hundreds of voices? It’s a mere summary.

For high fidelity go to the concert hall. Voices in unison throb in a way that neither CDs nor LPs can catch. True sound. As with the perfectly rendered coughing - always in the ppp passages; always taken up by copycats. Plus the sight of the elderly shufflers, one of whom had a heart attack at Birmingham two months ago. Lifelike sound and lifelike viewing. Sometimes they’re a curse.

 I have a dream for the wedding anniversary. A real-life soprano or a string quartet in our living room. Benylin in brandy coasters. Twould cost a couple of grand but it would be ours, and unmediated. Two hundred and fifty years ago we could have booked Mozart. Or would Carol Anne Duffy reading her own stuff be a goer?

DEHYDRATED SONNET Tone Deaf’s competition for sonnet with fewest words. Must include one reference to music. Great prizes for just entering. Entries to LdP in time for June 1 posting. Additional spec: title may be long or short; words used are not included in total (A great opportunity for cheating!).

BLEST REDEEMER (66,534 words so far). Plutarch’s first provisional pass: add more dates; Hitler Youth anachronistic; height disparity between two chairs; camp up Imogen; it’s not really meditation; etc. 


  1. Please can you suggest something to remove from my imagination the thought of you laying naked on a couch, LdP?

  2. I attended Liverpool Anglican Cathedral for a performance of Beethoven's 9th. We were seated rear of the transept and the sound was as if coming through a wool blanket.

  3. No. Sinatra does not go with wine. As Americans in swimsuits should not dip into the Japanese hot spring.

  4. Avus: Think of the music instead. I have something for nearly all tastes.

    Sir Hugh: Because many places of worship have a hard echo-ey acoustic, the uninformed often imagine they are ideal for listening to music. This is frequently not the case. Echoes travelling in one direction often meet up with others bounced off another wall and a muffling ensues.

    I have blogged about this before but the worst instance for me occurred in nearby Dore Abbey where we went to hear Emma Kirkby accompanied by a lute. We were sitting in the right (part of the) transept and for one thing we couldn't hear the lute at all. Also, whenever Emma turned towards the left transept the volume of her singing diminished by a half.

    RW (zS): Bourbon's the thing. As to Americans in swimsuits, you have the informational edge of me.

  5. So what are the acoustics like in your living room?

    Sonnet still in the making but not forgotten. I've got two days to make three maquettes before that deadline expires so I'll get that challenge out of the way first.

  6. Lucy: Acoustics pretty good but the wrong way round. The couch you see belongs to Mrs LdP. There is another couch, at right-angles to Mrs LdP's, hidden by the sliding door on the left. Thus when I lie on it I get perfect stereo from the loudspeakers along the right-hand side of the room. However a pianist, violinist, an accompanist/soprano or a quartet would probably replace Mrs LdP's couch and I have no real knowledge how that would affect the sound. Pure fantasy at the moment. Might do it to celebrate publication of novel - an even more remote fantasy.

  7. Someone called Bob Payton whom I believe you knew, arranged a performance of Figaro in the Country House hotel which he opened following his success with pizzas, ribs etc. It was a surprise present for his wife of two years on their anniversary. It was the best performance of my favourite opera but it was certainly memorable. The company which performed it specialised in such invidually tailored perfomances.

  8. And there are earlier precedents:

    On 25 December of that year (the day she (Cosima) usually celebrated her birthday... she woke to the sound of music:

    "When I woke up I heard a sound, it grew ever louder, I could no longer imagine myself in a dream, music was sounding, and what music! After it had died away Richard came in to me with the five children and put into my hands the score of his "Symphonic Birthday Greeting." I was in tears, but so, too was the whole household; Richard had set up an orchestra on the stairs and thus consecrated our Tribschen forever! The Tribschen Idyll

    This was the memorable first performance of the chamber piece which was later renamed the Siegfried Idyll.


    I envy you your experience. But there is a terrible obligation about this kind of gesture. Since the dedicatee may well have heard the music beforehand the executants chosen have to be superb - no economising with half-good amateurs.

  9. Make the decision.A string quartet, the windows open, an spring evening,great.Rather than I am glad I did ,rather than wish I had.
    I have fulfilled part of My bucket list on the above philosophy . balloon flights,helicopter journeys, jungle walks and more.Go for it.Live.Enjoy.
    I retired several years ago from lecturing. I now try to engage alienated youth in formal literacy and numercy?

  10. Anon: I have done one or two of the things you suggest and on the basis you suggest: given we are "comfortable" as the English middle-classes are wont say (even when rubies flow from their navels), we have used light planes and/or helicopters here, in France and in New Zealand, bought art we liked rather than at basement prices, increased the quality of our wine cellar, etc. If some of these activities seem acquisitive rather than venturesome blame our age (77 in my case). For ten years we owned a house in a non-resort part of France.

    To die in a state of regret is unforgivable. I am trying to rectify this in that I broke off novel writing for a couple of decades (which I now regret) and have recently resumed to the tune of 2½ novels written during the life of this blog.

    Is formal literacy quite distinct from literacy? Are the methods of teaching numeracy different when the students are alienated? These aren't casual questions. Lacking either or both of these basic skills seems to me like hell on earth.

  11. My sonnet is also in the making. I am at present attempting a course in book binding with so far mixed results.(I need to learn the art of accurate folding. It is in fact an "Art Book" course, which means there is an element of embossing, sewing, paper sculpture and complex folding techniques. I am going to attempt to make an Art Book out of my sonnet, and hopefully I will be able to make more than one copy of. After June 1st, how long will it be before the sonnets are seeable on line? Also after this happens would anyone like their sonnet included in my project?

  12. Lucas: So long as the sonnet arrives before June 1 (to my private email address which you now have) that's when it will appear. My sonnet, which is now finished for better or for worse, will appear on June 2.

  13. Many thanks. After June the first I will make and blog a mock up of my "art book" to see if anyone else is ineterested in having their sonnet included.