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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Jaundiced but nearly in Crete ...
is classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Dear Alice,

Have you ever felt absolutely rotten with humid horrible weather, a rotten head-cold, a dinner party to organise and a house to clean and a lawn to mow while keeping up with an engaging if demanding six-year-old girl while simultaneously (and under serious time pressure) editing a book by a brilliant Israeli/Russian author who has English has a third (count it) third language that has passages such as:

'To be precise, the submediant serves as the goal of main tonal contrast, aptly demonstrating consistent adherence to the standard tonal structures, and notwithstanding the boldness of the original nexus of the harmonic syntax, in all three movements from RV 367, the two first movements from RV 190 and 191, the second and third movements from Sonata RV 2, both the allegros of RV 77 and 166, the first movements from RV 70, 170, 294a, 450, 452, 464, 471, and 517; the Finale from RV 205, the Allemanda from RV 756, the Dove il valor combatte from Orlando, the Ad te suspiramus from the Salve Regina, RV 618, and the Alleluia from the motet Vestro Principi divino, RV 633.' (And no, I did not make one bit of that up ...)

AM in Orpington

Dear AM,

(Things must be getting pretty summer-slow when I have to write questions to myself!!!!!!) As an agony aunt, however, I am full of sympathy for your plight, which is, I may say, one that speaks to my depths. In fact, I have never been quite so moved by any agonised letter I have received. I am not exaggerating when I say that your letter moved me to tears, and not just because I had to look up 'nexus' in the bloody dictionary.

As I see it, you have several options:

  1. to call in the caterers / Pizza Hut / local cleaning firm / instant installation air-conditioning service 'You call us, we cool you'
  2. to hit six-year-old / Russo-Israeli musicolgist both over the head with the Oxford English Dictionary
  3. to dig out the champagne and spray it carefully over the lawn mower, rendering it null and void for serious actio
  4. n
  5. or cancel the dinner party, get on last minute dot com and book the first available single, non-refundable flight to Barbados under the name of opthamologist Susie Smithers, dye your hair red and GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Alice McVeigh in Crete. Photo © Simon McVeigh

[Note from Keith: Alice wishes to apologise for the unusually self-pitying and jaundiced response this week: she will be off to Crete for a fortnight next Tuesday and promises to come back as chirpy as usual -- no, what's that Alice? Right, she may not come back. She definitely will not be coming back, ever ever again to this humid disgusting place where people who come to dinner parties have the nerve to also expect clean houses, sparkling loos and cut grass. Alice, wait a second ... Alice! Er, excuse me, guys ... I'll be right back!]

Copyright © 23 July 2004 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK




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