Music and Vision homepage


Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

In the wake of recent European elections,
our ever-timely and impartial agony aunt of classical music
encourages us to :

Vote McVeigh on 10 June !!!!!!!

Dear Alice,

How do you get wrinkles? I'm thirty six and trying to avoid them. Please help me!

Jessica Swift

Dear Jessica,

I remember that one magazine I read responded, 'First, choose your mother carefully ...'

Besides, remember that I'm not a skin expert. However, a very dear friend put it this way: 'Always remember, when someone is really getting on your nerves, that it takes forty eight muscles to frown and only twenty four muscles to smile. It also takes only eight major muscles to reach out and sock him/her on the jaw!!!!!!!!!!!!' (Don't worry Keithie, they'll know I'm joking!!!!!!)

Sorry, back to the query. Well, I personally favour Gatineau's melatogenine cream, combined with SK-II facial treatment essence (and yes, guys, you can skip this question) but as long as it's legal, who's counting?? I mean, if Oil of Ulay works for you, well hey, that's cool.

Pip pip,

Ask Alice

Dear Alice,

You probably know me by sight as I am currently involved in the English Symphony Orchestra's Elgar Festival series, and what I really want to know is

[Note from Keith: Alice has specifically requested that all queries on this topic, especially those involving string seating, wind intonation, fortes in the brass and so on be deferred until she is rubbed out or indefinitely, if not later.]

Ask Alice

Dear Alice,

I have just finished the English Symphony Orchestra's Elgar festival series which was great but if I have to hear those trumpets blasting one more

[Note from Keith: see previous note!]

Ask Alice

Dear Alice,

A very strange thing happened the other day, and I would be glad of your comments.

I was sat with some friends in a fantastic Indian restaurant (the Anupam) in Malvern -- a pretty hillside town in Elgar country in the middle of England, enjoying a super meal.

At the next table to us was a fairly raucous group of (presumably) musicians. From their loud conversations which we couldn't help overhearing, it seemed that the three girls were all cellists, and that the bearded man with them had connections with some magazine I'd never heard of. One of the cellists (who seemed vaguely familiar) had an American-sounding accent and occasionally made very rude two-fingered gestures at the man.

Believe me, we tried our best to ignore this scum, but when it became obvious that their chattering concerned my own orchestra, and the Elgar Festival concert I was about to conduct, I

[Note from Keith: see above.]

Ask Alice

Dear Alice,

I am currently doing a music degree at a very good university. Very little of my degree is actually performing which is lucky as I get dead nervous. However the part of it which is performing comes up quite soon and I simply can't practise in this heat. My fingerboard gets sticky and I get fed-up and want to sit in the garden. What can I do? All advice gratefully appreciated!


Dear N J,

Of course you do. All nature is exulting in early summer, the flowers are blooming, the hay fever is running at top pitch, and voices everywhere are crying, 'Why O Lord are finals this time of year????????'

I see it as just one more example of how the world would be better run by me, personally. The school year should start in January and end at the end of November. Exams of all varieties would then be held when the wind is whistling and howling down the chimney, the rain is dragging down all remaining leaves and nature is saying, 'Go practise your four-octave scales!!'

This is not the only alteration I would make, to be honest. I would outlaw politicians, obliging people to join the government by lottery and for two years maximum, roughly in line with jury duty at the moment. I would outlaw France, people (including all those French) who rampantly fail to use deoderant, four-wheel drive vehicles, extremists of every country, class and religion, and pork pies. I would oblige any Islamic extremist to learn ballet in solitary confinement, and (in fact) the study of classical music would be compulsory until the age of thirty-five, when jazz may be substituted with the production of appropriate doctor's certificate. Mathematics, physics, cold-calling, my daughter's current headmistress and non-automatic cars would be outlawed entirely, and nobody would be obliged to learn languages unless very weird indeed.

So, in short, I do sympathize with your problem. My tried and tested method is this: I have a snappy shower (snappy in that I don't allow the water to get to a comfy temperature), I put on as few clothes as I can get away with answering the door in, and I train the biggest fan I have on me from behind. This is because fans do very funny things to string instrument sounds, interfering with the vibrations or something else brainy that I haven't the physics backing to go into now. (It is also because fans enjoy blowing music off of stands, having very basic senses of humour.)

And that reminds me. I would also ban daytime rain, humidity, and any temperatures above 24 celsius ...

Remember this Thursday:

Vote McVeigh on 10 June !!!!!!!


Copyright © 11 June 2004 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

[Note from Keith: Will certainly consider this. The competition (see below) doesn't look too hopeful, except perhaps the top one!]

SAN YO to European Union -- vote Japan in Europe party

Orange Party -- Fill the world with cellphones -- then PRAY

Want to sit on the fence and talk about it? Click here to do nothing

Local Racist Party

New Jugular -- highest death rates in 40 years

Preservatives. Help the rich get richer and sell the poor into slavery



Ask Alice

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