Music and Vision homepage


Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Sad news about classical music for ALICE McVEIGH

Dear Alice,

I have several friends in the ECO, which was hired to play in the Classical Brit awards. I was moaning to one of these that Cecila Bartoli had not actually sung as she collected her award for female artist of the year, or whatever -- nor did Vengerov actually play his violin. My friend told me that they had not been asked. I could hardly believe my ears when she said that the reason was that, the previous year, the winning classical artists had performed, and thousands of TV sets had been turned off or switched over in consequence! This can't be true, can it?

Fan of Bartoli

Dear Fan of Bartoli,

First, may I support you in your fan-itude. Superb, divinely gifted singer. As for her not being even invited to perform, it's the first I've heard of it, though, let's face it, the Brit awards generally make the Oscars look positively slick and classy. I saw a grand total of about six minutes on the night, when they managed to say the winners of whatever-it-was of the year were the Royal Philharmonic over large letters printing that the proud victors were the Israeli Philharmonic. (The words piss-up and brewery spring to the lips.)

Secondly, please don't wreck my illusions!!! -- I'd prefer to think they simply couldn't afford her, or Vengerov, either. The notion that a statistically significant number of Britons are so dead to culture as to switch over when a singer as brilliant and charismatic as Bartoli is performing is quite simply one of the saddest things I've ever heard.


Dear Alice

I am writing to complain about Orange. I recently lost my mobile phone and duly reported it missing. When I finally found it I called up Orange and told them to unblock it. Wait ten minutes and it'll be fine they said. It wasn't. I tried again, and they said 'sorry, we'll have another go'. Some hours later I reached a genius called Kate who said 'oops, it can take twenty four hours. I said that was okay and tried the next day, but it was still rubbish. The next day I called yet again and they said oops they (all the people I'd spoken to so far!) forgot to take it off the blacklist, sorry about that. Can you believe it? Who knows what work I might have missed?

Fed up muso in Middlesex

Dear fed-up muso,

Indeed, I can believe it. Nothing you can tell me about Orange can amaze me. My experience is almost as bad as yours, frankly. In fact it was so bad that I bet you're also a pay-as-you-go merchant. (The service is apparently marginally better if you're on a contract.) My advice is to call them up and tell them exactly how lousily you were treated. There is a ninety percent chance nothing will happen, but also a ten percent chance (according to rumour) that they will offer you a free trip to Honolulu, all expenses paid, a new Siemens with free ten pound credit attached, or a warm (indeed sticky) handshake in order to prevent you from deserting to one-to-one, Vodaphone, etc ...

On a more serious note, I think that very few professions require working, flexible, cheap mobile phones more than music. It's a much underestimated market.


Ask Alice

Comments for and against audition for West End's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sewer rat role for Alice's daughter Rachel:

As for whether it turns out an adventure or a pain, it is all whether Rachel wants to do it and understands the commitment part of it. Girls are usually very mature as far as this is concerned so if she wants to do it, she'd probably love it! The trips to the bank to deposit her own money, the standing in line like Mom and Dad, etc is very rewarding. My sons have been in lots of shows, operas etc in New York and they adore it. (I don't stand in line for them; they do it all themselves at the bank and feel so grown up!) J9 in NY

Ask Alice

I would advise against. I am a drama teacher of some years' experience and think that seven is too young to get the most of such an experience. She might also react badly against rejection, should she not be chosen. Leave it a couple of years is my advice. AGaines

Ask Alice

I wouldn't do it if I were you. A child needs quite a lot of maturity in order to cope with a run of five months, and the thrill might soon wear off. Then where would you be with a fed-up director and a fed-up agent and a fed-up child. GM, Colwyn Bay

Ask Alice

As a trained child psychologist, I think it depends entirely on the child. Naturally that doesn't mean that the child should choose, but that each case should be taken on its merits and without reference to age. It might be the greatest experience of her young life or the exact opposite! If she's as outgoing as she seems, though, I'd be inclined to give it a go (name withheld)

[Note from Alice: Have decided to give it a miss for now. Rachel not too fussed, all things considered!!!!!!!!!!!!]

Copyright © 25 June 2004 Alice McVeigh, Lucca, Italy



Ask Alice

 << M&V home              Alice's previous columns >>