Tuesday, 25 June 2013


I've come to the conclusion that, apart from journalists, those who continually publish blog posts have much too much time on their hands. Either that or their private lives are in tatters and they're desperately seeking contact with a supposed better world outside. Why have I reached this possibly controversial and provocative point of view? Because when I posted a lot I had too much time on my hands and was basically neglecting my nearest and dearest. I'm basing my evidence for this on the fact I currently have an awful lot of work to deal with and, consequently, have no interest in posting my vacuous witterings on French Fingers. My nearest and dearest are a long way away in darkest Toulouse and that's no fun, particularly as I've not seen or spoken to the Fingernails for about two weeks, mostly due to my workload here in Northern Bavaria but partly due to Mrs. F's computer developing tummy ache and needing a bit of TLC. At least, that's what she told me…If they'd been available and I'd have had half an hour spare you can be sure I'd have spent it skyping with them and not posting pictures of Denise Milani's tits on my blog.

As I can't really reveal anything about the project I'm working on I feel a bit hamstrung. I suppose I could go on about all the other exciting, X-rated things I do when not in rehearsal, like, er, getting up early to go the bakery, doing half an hour of yoga every morning or religiously packing a thermos of yerba maté in my rucksack every day, but I think you'd all rather be drooling over Denise Milani's tits, wouldn't you? And there's my dilemma. I can't comment sardonically on Bayreuth as it does what it says on the tin and my sense of humour has worn thin with the centre of Toulouse, which is just a rather attractive, selfish open sewer. Our bijou rat cage is back on the market, so if anybody wants to get up close and dirty with our delightful neighbours just tip me the wink and it's yours for three hundred grand. The real estate prices in French cities are utterly ridiculous: a friend of mine bought a 300 sqm house in Bad Berneck, here in Oberfranken  - in need of renovation, admittedly - with two acres of land for €36000 two years ago. The house next door to him is on sale as we speak. It has a garden and passarelles and is about 250 sqm. Yours for €25000. Needs work, but still…Incredible to think our 66sqm will probably go for between €270000 - 290000. We're keeping the little studio in the same building and paying through the nose for a new window, a new door and new God knows what else. It's one square foot too small to be let officially so it'll all have to be informal stuff. Possibly a blessing in a land seemingly exclusively populated by non-paying tenants.

I'm off to bed. Not content with boring you rigid I've managed to do it to myself.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Biblical weather in Bayreuth

This place is full of extremes: if it's not Wagner-related scandal it's either incredibly cold (rumoured to be the coldest place in Germany in the winter) or eye-meltingly hot. It was freezing when I got here nearly three weeks ago and the last few days have been up in the 30°s Centigrade (does anyone say 'Centigrade' any more? Thought not). The high pressure won out this afternoon and Noah sailed back past my house in his Arc after making his outbound journey a couple of weeks ago. It started around 3pm and there's still rain, thunder and lightning now, at nearly ten o'clock in the evening. Hailstones the size of gobstoppers fell out of the sky. I filmed a bit of it and will send it off to the Fingernails. God bless technology, even if I'm practically illiterate in that regard.

I'd love to write about the production I'm doing but we're all sworn to secrecy. Suffice to say that musically and visually it could make history. The sets are the most remarkable constructions I've ever seen on any stage, anywhere, and our conductor is exceptional. The orchestra responds exremely well to him and that's never a bad sign. The cast is of a very high standard and that's all I can really say. No sneaky, behind-the-scenes photos, no names, no nothing. Sorry, I'm pretty hopeless, I know.

So here's a totally gratuitous picture of Denise Milani just to make amends:

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Seeing as I'm back in Germany…

After a couple of weeks back with Mrs. F and the Fingernails I'm now back in northern Bavaria. The weather, as it was in Toulouse, is absolutely appalling and I've just thrown a handful of peanuts to the chimpanzees hanging over the side of Noah's Ark as it sailed down the road a few minutes ago. Who could have predicted such dreadful weather over an entire continent when at least half of it is used to something a lot more clement? Certainly not the giraffes, even though they did stick their necks out.

For the first time ever, I've left Toulouse in the same clothes I'd usually get changed into when I arrived in Bayreuth. I should have started work here on April 22nd but negotiated a deal whereby I came later. Long story and of no interest to anyone except me, so there. Seeing as the region has seen no change in the weather for weeks I'm glad I did as I did. The canteen isn't even open here, yet, so I dread to think what it was like back in April when I was swanning it up and down Cerro San Cristobal. At least I'd have breathed better, though…

I saw something in The Independent yesterday which would have made me howl with laughter even if I'd been sober: JC Penney are selling a kettle which, if you either squint or consume a half-way decent bottle of Chilean red, looks like Adolf Hitler. A few years ago, someone took a picture of a house which also 'looked like Adolf Hitler' which also got published in the 'serious' press. It's unbelievable how a contemporary dictator who committed suicide nearly seventy years ago is still so present in people's collective consciousness, in the same way that Marilyn Monroe, who died over fifty years ago, is still trotted out as the non plus ultra in female beauty.

Apparently, it even made an appearance on Have I Got News For You last night (It's a funny English current events panel show, for those unfortunate enough to live in the real world).

The rubbish I spew out while alone always makes me think of Montaigne's telling phrase: Un homme seul est en mauvaise compagnie'. At least it goes no further than that.