Well, thanks so much for all your additional linguistic advice to my youngest child. I shall pass it on.
Hmm… I’m not entirely convinced by those of you who diagnosed the patient in our little drama as having benign prostatic hypertrophy. Yes, I guessed that too, just because of the prostate-like bit of it but do you really know what a paraphymosis is, so as to rule it out? No, me neither. I asked the boy. “Um…,” he said delicately. “It’s an inflammation of the tissues under the foreskin.” (At least I think that’s what he said. I kind of rapidly lost interest. I don’t feel I’ll ever need to know in detail.)
Weeks ago, someone (and I can't remember who - sorry!) tagged me to reveal 5 pieces of music that mean a lot to me. So here I go. I do like some popular music if it has a pretty tune and interesting words – but it doesn’t mean nearly as much to me as … what I tend to think of as “proper” music. (“You’re such a musical snob, Mother,” says my boy (nicely). He calls me Mother only when I’m being bad.)
1. Holst’s “The Planets”. When I was 10, my parents bought a stereo record player and this was one of the two records they bought first. We all sat in our little living room with the huge speakers on specially-built shelves, and the room filled with that glorious sound which boomed startlingly into our ears from opposite corners.
2. The songs of Ivor Novello, for example “I can give you the starlight”. My dad was an excellent pianist and organist and, corny as it sounds, when I was a girl he used to play these songs and I would stand beside him and sing them – not very well, I should add: this particular song has a big range. I still love the words as well as the tune:
“I can give you the starlight,
Love unchanging and true,
I can give you the ocean,
Deep and tender devotion.
I can give you the moonlight,
Pools of shimmering blue,
Call and I shall be
All you ask of me,
Music in spring,
Flowers for a king,
All this I bring to you.”
I like the pattern of those rhymes. And of course, Mr Life has the same attitude as the chap in the song. Approximately. Or at any rate he brings me a cup of tea in bed first thing, which is more to my taste at that time of the morning than pools of shimmering blue.
3. “The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba” by Handel. We used to play this in the school orchestra. Our conductor, and my violin teacher, was a lovely man, Mr Watson – too lovely, since I was very lazy and didn’t practise enough and he was too nice to alarm me into diligence. But even I could play this well enough to merge into a reasonable performance. This piece always takes me back to our lunchtime rehearsals, with Mr Watson conducting and our HORRIBLE maths teacher patrolling the ranks of players and looking evil, a self-appointed guardian of our obedience.
4. Bach’s “St Matthew Passion”. I sang this with the university choir. Music that you learn, especially when you’re young, embroiders itself into your brain for ever. It’s perhaps the most glorious music I’ve ever sung; and I’ll never forget standing in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh as part of that big choir and helping to create that heartbreakingly beautiful sound.
5. The choir I now belong to is currently rehearsing Haydn’s “Harmoniemesse” . I had never heard of this before, and as so often happens when I hear complicated choral music for the first time, I listened to it on a CD and thought, ah yes, very nice. But when you learn it – really learn it by practising weekly with a choir – and every week you become more aware of the layers of sound from the different parts – it enriches your life for ever. See answer to number 4. When I’m a very old lady I shall be sitting there in my care home, plugged into earphones and singing along in my cracked, wobbly old voice as I listen to all the wonderful choral music I’ve learnt over the years. I’ll be transported out of my arthritis and failing vocabulary – and it’ll be one way of ensuring that I get a room of my own.
Does anyone want to be tagged? Loth of "The Gym's Not Working?" Joni of "Yummers"?
I'm whiling away the time waiting for the vinyl-layers to come and refloor our kitchen. They're supposed to arrive before 1 pm. They have 9 minutes. I need to get my washing machine plumbed in again or we will all run out of underwear.