Saturday, 14 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a very happy New Year and thanking you for checking in even though I've been doing nothing but the blogger's equivalent of trading my high-ranking cleric these last two months. We all had nearly three weeks in England over Christmas and the New Year, a holiday period unheard of in my 25-odd years of professional activity. The eczema stayed at bay (just), but has since started to bang on the inside of the door of the cupbaord conventional medicine shoved it into, unceremoniously, last autumn. We even had a day in London just before Christmas, the first time I'd been back to my home town for over fourteen years and the Fingernails got photographed by a bloke from Reuters as they stepped off the new Routemaster show-bus in Trafalgar Square. I've not seen it crop up on the internet, yet, so I can only presume the photographer decided not to use it (having run two hundred yards to catch us up and ask if we'd mind if he did). Also popped into Crawley, the town where I spent most of my childhood. After all these years of flying into Gatwick Airport we bit the bullet and had a little tour of my youth. I was astonished as to how little had changed and how incredibly liveable the town still is: everyone has two gardens, the pavements are broad and there's green everywhere. The opposite of urban France, in other words. England is half the size of Gaul with the same number of inhabitants but gives the impression of being far more spacious (as does Germany, with its inferior surface area and 20m+ population). Yup, urban planning is not what the French do best. And, according to the news this morning, nor is their ability to keep their AAA-rating, whatever that will really mean to any of us. After all, whoever talked about these things even a year ago? Now it's THE statistic to maintain. We're being taken for fools, again…

Got to run off to work. Verdi is OK, but really pales in comparison to Wagner, Strauss, Debussy Ravel and Puccini. Compare O sink hernieder with the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore and weep. I do. Pretty much daily, in fact.

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